Falls prevention

Did you know that in 2017 there were 22,576 people admitted to a SA public hospital injured after a fall? 

The SA Health Falls Prevention Program aims to enhance the independence and wellbeing of older South Australians through reducing preventable fall-related harm. Falls are not an inevitable part of ageing, and there are effective strategies that community members and health care professionals can do to reduce risk.

Statistics for 2017

The below falls prevention infographics provide staff with some data available to paint a picture of falls across SA in 2017, such as:

  • the number of falls
  • the average length of hospital stay
  • effective strategies that are having a positive impact on reducing falls incidents during health care.

This year, infographics have been developed for the following areas:

survey (PDF 401KB) conducted for SA Health in 2015 showed that older people now have a better understanding of the things that can be done to reduce their falls risk, than when a previous survey was conducted in 2007. The actions people know to do include:

  • modifying the home and removing obstacles such as electric cords
  • changing medication
  • using a walking aid
  • having an assessment of balance, walking and/or muscle strength
  • doing regular balance exercises
  • having eyesight/glasses checked regularly
  • increasing physical activity levels.

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National Standard 10 – Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls

Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care National Safety and Quality Health Service Standard 10 – Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls describes criteria that need to be met for accreditation.

The Accreditation Standard criteria:

  • Governance and systems for preventing falls.
    Health service organisations have governance structures and systems in place to reduce falls and minimise harm from falls.
  • Screening and assessing risks of falls and harm from falling.
    Patients on presentation, during admission, and when clinical indicated, are screened for risk of a fall and the potential to be harmed from falls.
  • Preventing falls and harm from falling.
    Prevention strategies are in place for patients at risk of falling.
  • Communicating with patients and carers.
    Patients and carers are informed of the identified risks from falls and are engaged in the development of a falls prevention plan.

The SA Health Accreditation Resource (PDF 1475KB) identifies the resources that are available to support each criteria.

Standard 10 is based in the National guidelines Preventing falls and harm from falls – best practice for Australian hospitals, residential aged care and community care, 2009 Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care.

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Falls risk assessment and care planning

Medical records forms (usually numbered MR58, MR58a and 58b) can be ordered from the SA Health Distribution Centre by completing a Medical Records Order Form (PDF 138KB). There are EPAS versions of these paper forms.

Videos and information about using these forms is included in the Falls Prevention eLearning course.

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Finding the right falls prevention service – where and how to refer

Each Local Health Network (LHN) has a streamlined system to assist referrers and older people to access the right service at the right time.

Falls prevention service directories provide a comprehensive listing of all services that offer falls prevention programs, including SA Health Falls Clinics and Day Therapy, Domiciliary Care and private allied health. These are available for:

For Country SA services, please contact your local community health service for information about services that are available close to you. You can also contact the Falls Program Manager on

Strength for Life promotes health and well-being and helps reduce the risk of falling in people over 50, through strength and balance training programs that are run by accredited community-based fitness providers.

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Consumer information on falls prevention

Consumer information and fact sheets are available on the Falls and preventing harm from falls page

Health care providers are encouraged to use our range of fact sheets, self-screen checklists and booklets to engage consumers in their falls prevention. Selected resources are available in a range of languages. 

Posters have also been developed to use around the health care setting, or in displays to remind patients on the importance of falls prevention. Selected languages are also available. 

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Michele Sutherland 
Safety and Quality Unit
Telephone: (08) 8226 9599

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Falls prevention policy directive and toolkit

The Fall and Fall Injury Prevention and Management Policy Directive (PDF 1.3MB) outlines the scope, principles, definitions and responsibilities for effective falls prevention systems. 

The purpose of this policy and toolkit is to establish a consistent, embedded approach to the prevention and management of falls across SA Health services.

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Click on the image below to download the relevant poster. 

Posters targeting health professionals

If you think that your patient is at risk of falls, then they probably are. Doing a falls risk assessment will help you to plan their care.   Falls are preventable. We all have a role to play   

General fall prevention posters

Don&apost fall for it. Falls can be prevented! Choose a fun way to keep active and maintain your balance - a falls prevention intiative   Out and About. Hints to help you feel confident in public places     Don't fall for it. Falls can be prevented poster      See clearly to prevent falls poster   Set yourself up to stay independent at home. For advise see your Occupational Therapist, Independent Living Centre, local council or Doctor  Prevent falls with safe shoes


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