Sustaining Quality Improvement In Hospital Falls Prevention Systems By Using A Community Of Practice


Aim This quality improvement project aimed to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using a Community of Pra ctice (CoP) model to sustain continuous quality improvement in system ide inpatient falls prevention activity. Method The setting was a state wide group drawn from large and small metropolitan and rural hospitals. A Falls Prevention CoP was created foll owing stakeholder engagement and identification of key CoP roles. No additional funding was obtained. Data were collected using an online survey which evaluated CoP members’ self -perception of adequacy of communication, resourcing, support and levels of knowledge. The efficacy of the CoP in promoting organisational change was evaluated by an audit measuring falls prevention practice change across all participating hospitals. Results CoP gatherings were attended by an average of 25 members. There were 7 5 total responses to three online surveys. Members responding that communication between Falls Network stakeholders was optimal to achieving work tasks effectively increased from 29.1% (n=7) at baseline to 79% (n=15) at 24 months. After 24 months 89% (n= 17) of respondents reported that the Falls CoP was important or very important in assisting them to perform their work in falls prevention and 73% (n=14) responded that their participation in the Falls CoP had resulted in changes in practice at their indiv idual hospital site. There as over 90% compliance at participating hospitals to 10 of the 14 falls prevention standards measured Conclusions and implications for practice Changes facilitated by individual CoP members and the CoP group have resulted in i mproved communication, learning and information sharing among health workers and standardisation of key processes across the state wide health setting. A CoP can be a valuable, cost neutral addition to sustaining falls prevention practice in health care sytems ith established programs. Other clinical groups working collaboratively should consider instituting a Community of Practice


falls prevention, community of practice, hospitals


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