Evaluation of care staff knowledge, confidence, motivation and opportunity for preventing falls in residential aged care settings: A cross-sectional survey

Jacqueline Francis-Coad, Jo Aine Hang, Christopher Etherton-Beer, Alexandra Ellis, Anne Marie Hill

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To explore care staff knowledge about falls and confidence, motivation and opportunity to undertake fall prevention strategies, in residential aged care (RAC) along with preferences for fall prevention education. Background: Falls account for the majority of adverse clinical events in RAC settings. Care staff in RAC settings are in a key position to influence residents’ actions to prevent falls, provided they have the necessary knowledge and skills. Methods: A cross-sectional survey design with a purposive sample of 147 care staff at eight RAC facilities was undertaken in 2015. A custom-designed questionnaire examining knowledge, confidence, motivation and opportunity to undertake falls prevention strategies was used. Results: Only 39 (26.5%) care staff were aware that the residents they cared for were at high risk of falls. Care staff knowledge of intrinsic falls risk factors was very limited, for example, only 18 (13.53%) observed for side effects of medication and just four (1.04%) were aware of continence issues. Conflicting duties also limited care staff time to undertake falls prevention strategies. Preferences for falls prevention education indicated face-to-face interactive discussions in the workplace (n = 98, [66.7%]) with reminder posters displayed around the facility (n = 80, [70.8%]). Conclusions: Residential aged care organisations need to engage with care staff to provide tailored falls education incorporating learning preferences and targeting knowledge gaps, to improve awareness of intrinsic risk factor impact and uptake of evidence-based prevention strategies. Despite care staff being highly motivated, they have limited opportunity to assist residents with fall prevention within their workload. RAC management and funding bodies must address opportunity for care staff to fulfil this crucial role to benefit resident safety. Implication for practice: This study identified gaps in care staffs’ knowledge and skills in undertaking falls prevention strategies in residential aged care settings. These findings will assist residential aged care organisations and health professional educators to design evidence-based falls prevention education tailored to their care staffs' needs and preferences to facilitate adoption.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12224
JournalInternational Journal of Older People Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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