Friends Help Prevent Falls

It might not have been Prince Charming with a glass slipper, but NHS Forth Valley Staff Nurse Cheril Bretenoux was making sure the right size fitted when she kitted out patient Margaret Rankin with new slippers at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Margaret is one of hundreds of elderly people who are being supplied with free slippers, courtesy of a new Friends of Forth Valley Royal Hospital initiative. Friends Chairman Bob Ness said the pilot project, which has cost £1500, supports NHS Forth Valley’s wider falls prevention programme. He explained:

 Our policy is concentrated on helping older people throughout the hospital. We noticed that some elderly patients were coming into wards with slippers that had slippery soles and could be dangerous. The ones we have chosen are comfortable but have soles with an excellent grip. The Friends are delighted to be able to help with this important approach which could be extended if proved successful.”

NHS Forth Valley AHP Consultant for Older People’s Services Lesley Yarrow added:

 There is strong evidence to suggest that ill fitting footwear or footwear in poor condition can contribute to falls in older people. As part of our approach to falls prevention in Forth Valley we try to encourage older people and their carers to bring their own well fitting shoes or slippers when they come into hospital. However, this is not always possible for carers or relatives, as older people may come into hospital as an emergency and accessing their own footwear at home can sometime be difficult.”Lack of suitable footwear can then result in longer periods of immobility while in hospital and this can make rehabilitation more difficult as well as the older person loses confidence. With this in mind we wanted to be able to offer suitable footwear to those patients who could not otherwise access their own. This would then allow early mobilisation and rehabilitation.”

The scheme is being rolled out across four wards in Forth Valley Royal Hospital (A11, A32, B21, B22 and B23) on a trial basis, and the Friends have initially supplied 24O pairs of slippers, for ladies and gents, in a range of colours.

The three wards for the elderly and the orthopaedic ward, which are part of the pilot project, will monitor the use of these slippers and provide feedback on how they are received by patients.