Objectives: Falls are the most frequent adverse event reported in hospitals. Patient and staff education delivered by trained educators significantly reduced falls and injurious falls in an older rehabilitation population. The purpose of the study was to explore the educators’ perspectives of delivering the education and to conceptualise how the programme worked to prevent falls among older patients who received the education.

Design: A qualitative exploratory study.

Methods: Data were gathered from three sources: conducting a focus group and an interview (n=10 educators), written educator notes and reflective researcher field notes based on interactions with the educators during the primary study. The educators delivered the programme on eight rehabilitation wards for periods of between 10 and 40 weeks. They provided older patients with individualised education to engage in falls prevention and provided staff with education to support patient actions. Data were thematically analysed and presented using a conceptual framework.

Results: Falls prevention education led to mutual understanding between staff and patients which assisted patients to engage in falls prevention behaviours. Mutual understanding was derived from the following observations: the educators perceived that they could facilitate an effective three-way interaction between staff actions, patient actions and the ward environment which led to behaviour change on the wards. This included engaging with staff and patients, and assisting them to reconcile differing perspectives about falls prevention behaviours.

Conclusions: Individualised falls prevention education effectively provides patients who receive it with the capability and motivation to develop and undertake behavioural strategies that reduce their falls, if supported by staff and the ward environment.


falls prevention education programme, qualitative process evaluation

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