Forth Valley Royal Hospital falls caused more than 250 patients to break a bone, figures reveal
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Figures released by NHS Forth Valley (FV), following an enquiry by The Falkirk Herald, showed 267 people have fractured a bone as a result of a fall at the Larbert facility since it opened a decade ago.
Of those, the majority were in their later years, with 82 patients aged 70-79 breaking a bone due to a fall and 106 patients aged between 80-89 sustaining the same injury.
A further 38 people aged between 90 and 99 also fractured a bone after falling at FVRH.
There were fewer falls resulting in fractures among younger patients, as 25 people aged 60-69 suffered the same injury by falling at the hospital, compared to: 11 aged 50-59; two between the ages of 40-49; two aged 30-39; and one patient whose age is unknown.
An NHS FV spokeswoman said: “Over the past ten years there has been considerable work within NHS Forth Valley to ensure a systematic focus on falls through the Scottish Patient Safety Programme and the Nursing Care Assurance system.
“We work closely with families as part of the risk assessment for their loved ones.
“Every patient has a Falls Risk Assessment completed on admission and the necessary adjustments are put in place to help reduce the risk of falls. This is updated regularly in line with the patient’s condition.
“We have also introduced new falls champions on our wards and strengthened education and training on falls prevention.”
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland chief executive, said: “We’re glad to hear of the extensive work being undertaken by NHS Forth Valley in order to prevent and protect patients against falls and hope to see this continue in an effort to reduce the number of older people breaking bones due to a fall in hospital.”
In July, we told how the family of a late Denny dementia patient who fell at FVRH was urging the facility to pay more attention to loved ones’ requests as they believed the 74-year-old had been neglected.
Euphemia Bowman’s relatives said the pensioner was repeatedly placed into a single room after being admitted to the Larbert hospital on August 15, 2017 with suspected urosepsis, despite the family telling staff to keep her in an open ward due to her condition.
They insisted Euphemia would be unable to use a buzzer to contact nurses and would “habitually” try to go to the toilet herself.
The Bowmans’ fear was realised in September 2017 when she fell and broke her hip and shoulder.
Having fallen in her kitchen two days before the first of the four occasions Phamie was admitted to FVRH, the family urged doctors to check her for a urinary tract infection as she’d lost her balance, but say this wasn’t done.
She died on September 7, 2017, four days after her fall.
Her death certificate listed bilateral pneumonia as directly leading to death due to, or as a consequence of, a fracture of the femur of the neck due to, or as a consequence of, a fall.
In December 2017, Angela Wallace, NHS FV nurse director, apologised “unreservedly” to Euphemia’s family for the care she received.