Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

‘Falls not a priority’: insights on discharging older people, admitted to hospital for a fall, back to the community

Claudia Meyer A B L , Emma Renehan A , Frances Batchelor C , Catherine Said D E , Terry Haines F , Rohan Elliott G H and Dianne Goeman A I J K
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Bolton Clarke, 31 Alma Road, St Kilda, Vic. 3182, Australia.

B LaTrobe University, Centre for Health Communication and Participation, Bundoora, Vic. 3086, Australia.

C National Ageing Research Institute, 34–54 Poplar Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.

D Department of Physiotherapy, Austin Health, 145 Studley Road, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.

E Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.

F School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Monash University, Frankston, Vic. 3199, Australia.

G Austin Health, Heidelberg, Vic. 3184, Australia.

H Monash University, Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.

I University of Newcastle, School of Medicine and Public Health, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

J The University of Sydney, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Northern Clinical School, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia.

K Monash University, Department of Nursing, Health Sciences and Medicine, Central Clinical School, Australia.

L Corresponding author. Email: cmeyer@boltonclarke.com.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health - https://doi.org/10.1071/PY17052
Submitted: 24 April 2017  Accepted: 7 September 2017   Published online: 14 November 2017

Abstract

Falls are common among older people and a leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation. The immediate post-hospitalisation period is a risky time for further falls. This paper explores discharge strategies from the perspectives of older people hospitalised for a fall and liaison nurses assisting people to return home. Exploratory mixed methods were used. Semi-structured interviews with older people were conducted regarding their experience of the fall and discharge strategies. Quality of life, falls risk and functional capacity were measured by questionnaire. Liaison nurses were also interviewed. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. Mixed-method synthesis occurred using role-ordered matrix analysis. Older people (n = 13) and liaison nurses (n = 6) participated. Older persons’ quality of life was average and falls risk high. Thematic analysis revealed three key themes: ‘falls are not a priority’, ‘information not given, or given and not retained’ and ‘reduction in confidence and independence’. Role-ordered matrix analysis identified differences between acute and rehabilitative hospital stays. Older people hospitalised for a fall present a unique opportunity for implementation of falls prevention strategies. However, hospitalisation is often a time of crisis with competing priorities. Timing and relevance are crucial for optimal uptake of falls prevention strategies, with the primary care setting well-placed for their implementation.

Additional keywords: community health, falls prevention, hospital discharge, mixed methods, pilot study, quality of life.


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