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Hospital falls, hip fractures down

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/12/2016

The number of patients who have fallen and broken a hip while in a New Zealand public hospital has dropped 40 per cent in two years.

It's a development being celebrated by the Health Quality and Safety Commission, which says New Zealand appears to be the first country to achieve the feat on a national scale.

The figure is contained in a paper on reducing harm from falls and published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

In 2013, the commission launched a three-year programme, including a national patient safety campaign, in response to the large and apparently increasing numbers of incidents reported.

The commission's clinical lead for reducing harm from falls, Sandy Blake, says the decrease since December 2014 is important.

She says hip fracture is the most common serious fall-related injury in those over 80 years old.

"Only half of those who survive a hip fracture will walk unaided again, and many will not regain their former degree of mobility," she said.

The commission also recorded an increase in the number of older patients assessed for their risk of falls in hospitals and in those being given an individual care programme.

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