Our Aim: To safely reduce falls risks in our inpatient physical health rehabilitation wards whilst also increasing patients independence.

What did we do: Staff working on Hawthorn and Hazel Wards have introduced an initiative called “Colour Me Safe” in which all patients receive a coloured wristband after their initial risk assessment and care plan.

Why is this important: The colour of the wristband is based on a personalised risk assessment and care plan and lets staff know how mobile each patient is at a glance. If a patient has a green wristband they are safe to walk alone, amber means they need help from a nurse, red means the patient is at a high risk of falling, while a blue one means they need support from two staff. The bands are given to patients as soon as they are admitted and assessed – and the colours can change as the patient engages in physiotherapy and occupational therapy during their stay.

Kate Priestley, introduced the idea after seeing an initiative which used stickers on walking frames to identify risks, however she knew she could expand this idea to help her patients, after she spent time talking to them and their families understanding what they want and need.

What difference we have made: We have achieved our aim which was to help reduce falls and aid quicker and more appropriate risk management decisions. However alongside of this our patients have told us about the other improvements they have noted from the introduction of “colour me safe”:

In the picture attached there is Lillian (94) and Anne (76) who have both progressed through their recovery journey on hazel ward and now gained their green bands (seen holding them). Lillian was admitted after a fall which resulted in a neck fracture. She explained that this started to make her frightened to walk which hindered her recovery. She explained that she also feared losing her independence and relying on others to move around. Lillian was provided with a red band on admission and started working with the ward staff as soon as she was able to improve her confidence. Lillian said she was “so happy” when she “achieved the green band” she said that she did a little bit of exercise every day and as her confidence and strength built her risks reduced and she could see her progress with the change in her colours. She explained that she went from “needing someone with me to walk – to doing it on my own”. Lillian explained that the Bands helped her motivate herself to ‘do a bit more’, provided a conversation point with others and focussed her upon what she needed to achieve to ‘get home safely’. She explained that she is so pleased that she is able to go home to celebrate her 95th birthday and feels the ‘colour me safe’ system helped her to do this.

Anne was admitted to Hazel ward after she had a hip replacement. Anne explained that from the start of her admission she has been focussed upon ‘getting back to independence’ she explained that she ‘loved the band system’ as she said she is ‘competitive’ and it helped her think about difference ways in which she could safely exercise each day in order to regain her independence. Anne stated that the Bands helped because less people on the ward bother her when she is trying to exercise now she has her band on as they know she is safe. Anne is so pleased with her green band achievement she said she wants to take it home to remind her about what she can achieve.

If you want to know more please contact:- Jude Graham – [email protected] or on twitter @Jude_Graham_ #rdashisfab

About the Author:

Judith Graham
I am proud to be a Fab Ambassador! I am a Registered Mental Health Nurse, Independent Prescriber, and a Registered Specialist Practitioner (Mental Health) with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). I was awarded the title of Queens Nurse in 2015, and work actively with this national organisation,. I have been qualified for 12 years and have worked in the NHS throughout my career. I am also a Registered Psychotherapist with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, and a registered Independent Assessor for Autistic Spectrum Conditions. I currently have a divided role; I am the Listening into Action (LiA) Lead for the NHS Trust I work for. This means that I work with various clinical teams including: mental health, neurorehabilitation, forensic services, drug and alcohol services, learning disabilities services, child and young people’s services and also school nurses. I also work in a clinical practice role for 1-2 days per week as an Advanced Nurse Consultant and Psychotherapy Consultant, in specialist mental health care services. I work at a senior clinical level, with adults across the age range who have functional and organic mental health problems, clients with mental health and learning disabilities, and also clients with substance misuse problems. I provide specific diagnostic assessment and work with patients and their relatives to develop psychotherapeutic formulations which act as guides for future treatment. Additional to my clinical practice, I have a role in regards to policy and practice development on a local, regional, and national basis. I am an elected Board Member of the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network.

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