You can help patients make a smooth transition from the hospital to their home or residential aged care facility through comprehensive and clear discharge planning and communication.
When a patient is being discharged:
- Reinforce the strategies you have outlined to the patient and their family to prevent falls.
- Emphasise the importance of maintaining a combination of interventions.
- If the person has experienced a fall, explain that maintaining levels of physical activity, perhaps in group settings, may not only minimise their risk of further falls but may also be helpful to increase opportunities for socialising and decrease loneliness.
- A fear of falling may limit a person’s confidence to maintain or initiate new activities or social connections. Explore with them ways they might address their fears.
- Provide documentation about falls risk and falls risk factors in discharge information for the person’s GP and other services.
- Ask the GP to reinforce the strategies and to monitor their effectiveness post hospitalisation.
- Consider referral to other services for ongoing management of fall risk. Victoria's Health Independence Program provides ambulatory care support for people following hospitalisation. Falls and mobility clinics are provided through HIP. Group strength and balance classes are available through most community centres, and are also useful to promote socialisation.