Trust gets ‘funky’ to reduce falls

Date: 05 April 2017

Chris Martin; John McLaughlin; Laura Warne and Kerry O’Neil

A colourful new programme has been launched at Medway NHS Foundation Trust to reduce falls in hospital and improve the well-being for patients who use walking frames.

From Monday 10 April, Medway Maritime Hospital will be encouraging elderly patients across Medway and Swale to decorate their frames, making them more personalised and more recognisable. 

The aim of the new programme is to create a culture where elderly patients take more ownership over their frames, encouraging them to use them more rather than leaving them by the bedside when walking. Currently in the UK, falls are the main cause of disability and the leading cause of death from injury among people aged over 75.

During 2016, a nursing home in Essex first carried out the programme with residents and saw a dramatic 60% reduction in falls thanks to this simple method. Kerry O’Neil, Falls Prevention Nurse Specialist at Medway NHS Foundation Trust discusses the initiative:   

“We have been working very hard across the Trust to reduce the numbers of patient falls in hospital by implementing simple strategies like this one.  Often elderly patients may forget to use their frames, or simply decide they do not need them when getting out of bed which unfortunately often leads in them falling.

“Using frames for many elderly patients is part of their daily lives; this programme creates an atmosphere of ownership where individuals will want to use their frames as they’re more personal to them”. 

The effects of even the most minor fall can be very serious for an older person’s physical and mental health. Following a fall, many older people have fear of falling again, which can then reduce their quality of life and well-being.

If you would like to learn more about the range of initiatives Medway NHS Foundation Trust are doing to improve care for patients, please visit our news page at

  • Summary:

    A colourful new programme has been launched at Medway NHS Foundation Trust to reduce falls in hospital and improve the well-being for patients who use walking frames.