Francis-Coad, J., Etherton-Beer, C., Bulsara, C., Nobre, D., & Hill, A. (2016). Using a community of practice to evaluate falls prevention activity in a residential aged care organisation: a clinical audit. Australian Health Review, 41 (1), 13-18.
Objective This study evaluates whether a community of practice (CoP) could conduct a falls prevention clinical audit and identify gaps in falls prevention practice requiring action.
Methods Cross-sectional falls prevention clinical audits were conducted in 13 residential aged care (RAC) sites of a not-for-profit organisation providing care to a total of 779 residents. The audits were led by an operationalised CoP assisted by site clinical staff. A CoP is a group of people with a shared interest who get together to innovate for change. The CoP was made up of self-nominated staff representing all RAC sites and comprised of staff from various disciplines with a shared interest in falls prevention.
Results All 13 (100%) sites completed the audit. CoP conduct of the audit met identified criteria for an effective clinical audit. The priorities for improvement were identified as increasing the proportion of residents receiving vitamin D supplementation (mean 41.5%, s.d. 23.7) and development of mandatory falls prevention education for staff and a falls prevention policy, as neither was in place at any site. CoP actions undertaken included a letter to visiting GPs requesting support for vitamin D prescription, surveys of care staff and residents to inform falls education development, defining falls and writing a falls prevention policy.
Conclusion A CoP was able to effectively conduct an evidence-based falls prevention activity audit and identify gaps in practice. CoP members were well positioned, as site staff, to overcome barriers and facilitate action in falls prevention practice.
clinical audit, falls prevention, residential aged care, Western Australia