best practice toolkit has been launched to help manage and reduce falls and fractures in Scotland's care homes.  Public Health Minister Michael Matheson today joined representatives of Scotland's social care inspectorate, Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) and NHS Scotland, for the launch of their ‘Managing falls and fractures in care homes for older people' resource initiative in East Kilbride.

Research shows that older people in care homes are three times more likely to fall than older people in the community - with the results often leading to serious injuries.

Care home workers in Scotland already play a key role in falls prevention, but it has been identified that with clear direction, advice and support they can make a significant difference in this area of care - impacting greatly on an older person's independence and quality of life.

SCSWIS and NHS Scotland joined forces to pilot the resource in seven care homes in Scotland, with all reporting that they found it was easy to use and acted as an excellent educational tool for new and existing care home staff.

The trial success has now led to today's launch, providing all care home staff for the first time with guidance on best practice on managing falls in a way that is right for each person and gives access to other tools and support.

Edith Macintosh, SCSWIS Rehabilitation Consultant, who led the project with Ann Murray, National Falls Programme Manager, said the principal focus of the resource is a cultural shift from the belief that falls are an inevitable part of ageing.

Edith said: "As people get older, it's often accepted that falls are unavoidable. However, this is not the case. A fall is nearly always due to the presence of one or more ‘risk factors'. Recognising them and removing or altering an individual's risk factors can often prevent a fall.

"Giving care staff the guidance and the knowledge they need to take the right steps at the right time can help to prevent falls and enable an older person to continue a physically active life.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: "Older people living in care homes are three times more likely to fall than older people living in their own homes, with hip fractures 10 times more likely than in other environments.

"There are a number of contributory factors such as physical frailty, the presence of long term conditions, physical inactivity, multiple medications and the unfamiliarity of new surroundings.

"The prevention of falls and fractures can help maintain quality of life and independence for those older people living in care homes, giving them the confidence to stay as active as possible. This new package of information and self assessment resource provides advice for care home staff on the prevention of falls and fractures and will serve as an excellent education tool for new recruits, helping them to spot risks and take action to lessen the risk of falls. It will help improve the overall quality of care for older people in Scotland's care homes.

"The resource, which is available in hard and electronic copy, and is on both SCSWIS and NHS Scotland's websites not only gives the guidance required to manage falls and fractures, but it offers tools which can be downloaded by the care homes to help improve and change practice.

These tools are documents designed to help care home staff introduce a process for managing falls and fractures. This includes for example falls risk assessments, environmental risk assessments, helpful pathways and visual tools which allow staff to plot where falls take place - this promotes staff involvement in the process of falls management in their care home.


Issued by Holyrood Partnership on behalf of SCSWIS. For further media information please contact Pamela McDade on 0131 561 2242 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to Editor:

SCSWIS, which encompasses the work of the former Care Commission, Social Work Inspection Agency (SWIA) and child protection activities of HMIE, was established in April 2011 to monitor and regulate Scotland's 15,000 care services including care homes, nurseries, child minders and other support services, providing care to some 320,000 people.

The organisation is committed to regulating and inspecting care services and carrying out social work and child protection inspections across Scotland, ensuring that people using the services receive the highest quality of care and that their rights are promoted and protected.