Falls prevention for health professionals

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 practices.

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.

The falls prevention infographics below provides staff with a picture of falls across SA in 2022.

  • the number of falls
  • the rate of falls resulting in significant harm or death

Falls risk assessment and care planning

Risk screening, assessment and care planning are foundational practices for health professionals to prevent falls and minimise harm from falls. Staff should use the SA Health MR 58 forms (for adult use) or EMR/community equivalents as part of everyday clinical practice.

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

Minimising Harm from Falls

Preventing falls and planning to minimise the harm caused by falls, can significantly improve consumer recovery and health outcomes.

Key ways to minimise the harm caused to consumers from a fall include:

  • support consumers to have a healthy balance of food, fluids, and mobility at home and while in hospital. Patients with cognitive impairment may need help with these tasks.
  • make small changes to your patients’ surroundings for big impacts to minimise risk
    • While in hospital orientate the patient to the call bell and provide a regular toileting routine if required
    • Keep items such as drinks, food, TV remotes, glasses within easy reach
    • Declutter and ensure adequate lighting
    • Have the right equipment available such as walking aids, sensor mats or poles, fall mats and shower chairs
  • patients with a cognitive impairment can fall from a significant height if climbing over a bed rail, resulting in fracture or head injury.  Use the Bed Rail matrix to understand the level of risk for your patient. Remember to include allied health, the medical team and the patient’s family in decisions about bed rails
  • a patient review with a multi-disciplinary team, or a repeat home risk assessment, after the first fall is more likely to minimise harm in the future and prevent subsequent falls.

National Safety and Quality Service Standard 5: Comprehensive Care

The NSQHS  describes those actions needed to keep patients safe and provide quality care.  Standard 5: Comprehensive Care, outlines specific requirements of all SA Health Services in the area of falls.

5.24 The health service organisation providing services to patients at risk of falls has systems that are consistent with best-practice guidelines for:

  • falls prevention
  • minimising harm from falls
  • post-fall management.

5.25 The health service organisation providing services to patients at risk of falls ensures that equipment, devices and tools are available to promote safe mobility and manage the risks of falls.

5.26 Clinicians providing care to patients at risk of falls provide patients, carers and families with information about reducing falls risks and falls prevention strategies.

The Standard 5 falls prevention criteria are based on 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.

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. See Falls Prevention Services for details.

For Regional SA services, please contact your local community health service for information about services that are available close to you.

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.

Falls Prevention in SA features falls prevention resources for consumers, including information on courses and workshops.

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.


Safety and Quality
Email:  Health.DHWClinicalGovernanceEnquiries@sa.gov.au