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Professor Morris and movement therapy research in action


A Public Private Partnership To Prevent Falls in Australian Hospitals

NHMRC Partnership Grant Project (GNT 1152853)

This public-private partnership brings together an outstanding multi-disciplinary team of eminent falls researchers, policy makers, consumers, hospital executives, managers and clinicians to reduce falls and serious injuries in Australian hospitals. Falls are one of the top 3 most serious problems in Australia’s private and public hospitals and are associated with marked morbidity and mortality. There are over 30,000 falls in Australian hospitals each year, with longer length of stay and poor outcomes. Falls have substantial costs to individuals, insurers and care providers, adding pressure to already constrained healthcare budgets. More than 30% result in physical injury. This project shall be framed around several important aspects of healthcare: improved patient outcomes, evidence based clinical practice, optimal patient experience and the containment of healthcare costs. Our team will improve processes across our healthcare system to achieve our aim of reducing hospital falls and injuries. Currently there is wide variability in the methods used in hospitals to determine falls risk and to prevent falls. Some methods used by clinicians for falls risk assessment and falls prevention are comparatively ineffective for reducing hospital falls rates. There are new, more effective approaches that are evidence based and consumer focussed awaiting implementation.

This project has a strong consumer focus and uses implementation science principles to inform falls prevention through:

  1. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the international literature on
          (i) validity of procedures for assessing hospital falls risk
         (ii) methods to prevent hospital falls and injuries.
  2. Translating the results from the meta-analyses, we shall implement evidence-based clinician education programmes to optimise hospital falls risk assessment and we shall trial disinvestment from unsubstantiated approaches.
  3. Translating the results from the meta-analyses, we shall implement evidence-based clinician training and patient self-management programs to reduce hospital falls.
  4. Creation of a community of practice (“Falls Cluster”) with educational resources, policies and procedures to support implementation and behaviour change. The cluster shall aid clinicians, policy makers and hospital managers to access evidence and share knowledge.


Hydrotherapy used in preventing falls