Are You Falls Prepared for Winter?

‘The world’s population is ageing. Falls and related injuries are increasingly common, making their prevention and management a critical global challenge.’ (British Geriatrics Society, 2022)

This increasing trend of falls-related injuries, combined with pressure on care services, particularly over winter, emphasises the importance of using ‘Falls Awareness Week’ as a platform for falls education.

The World Guidelines for Falls Prevention and Management 2022 emphasise the importance of tailored education for hospitalised older adults and other high-risk groups. Examples of well-managed partnership approaches with patients and their friends and family have shown a reduction of up to 58.6 per cent1 in falls.


We can all make a difference

Everyone has a role to play in preventing a patient from falling. 

Simple actions like ensuring the patient’s call bell is in reach, removing trip hazards, or just keeping a close eye on those patients assessed as having a high fall risk, can make a big difference.

#FallsAwarenessWeek Webinar series

We are planning two webinars for ‘Falls Awareness Week 2024’, showcasing local quality improvement initiatives on falls prevention and management. We will update you once details are confirmed.

The provisional dates for these are:

  • Tuesday, 17 September at 12 p.m. (BST)
  • Thursday, 19 September at 12 p.m. (BST)

#ThinkFalls #ActionOnFalls


Day 1: A falls collaboration between Nursing and Midwifery

11 September 2023

Nikki Webb, Maternity Ward Manager and Vanessa Wallace, Patient Safety Improvement Nurse from Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Trust will share their journey towards implementation of a falls prevention guideline in maternity. Maternity is not a department that is commonly associated with inpatient falls, but evidence has shown that with the correct communication, training and risk assessment preventative falls can be significantly reduced within the Maternity setting.


  • Title: A falls collaboration between Nursing and Midwifery
  • Date: Monday, 11 September 2023
  • Time: 12:00 – 13:00 BST
  • Duration: 1 hour

Day 2: Innovative strategies to reduce stroke inpatient falls

14 September 2023

Madeleine Gifford, Band 6 Physiotherapist on the Stroke Unit at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS FT, will explore the relationship between stroke and falls and share innovative strategies to reduce inpatient falls amid environmental changes.


  • Title: Innovative strategies to reduce stroke inpatient falls
  • Date: Thursday, 14 September 2023
  • Time: 12:00 – 13:00 BST
  • Duration: 1 hour


Madeleine Gifford
Band 6 Physiotherapist, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS FT

Madeleine is a Specialist Neuro-physiotherapist at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS FT. Madeleine qualified in 2021 and took an interest in Stroke and neurological rehab immediately. During her time on the Stroke Unit and Hillingdon Hospital Madeleine started a quality improvement project looking at falls. This then sparked a passion for falls prevention and Madeleine has been a driving force in a number of successful new initiatives targeting falls prevention.

Day 3: Post Falls Responses

19 September 2023

Julie Windsor MSc RGN, Patient Safety Clinical Lead Medical Specialties/Older People from NHS England and Improvement and Dr Julie Whitney, National Audit of Inpatient Falls clinical lead, Royal College of Physicians (RCP), will lead a session on post falls management.


  • Title: Post Falls Responses
  • Date: Tuesday, 19 September 2023
  • Time: 12:00 – 13:00 BST
  • Duration: 1 hour


Julie Windsor
MSc RGN, Patient Safety Clinical Lead Medical Specialties/Older People, NHS England

Julie is a Member of National Patient Safety Advisory Panel and a Collaborator on the National Audit of Inpatient Falls (NAIF). She is also a Member of the National Falls Prevention Coordination Group and a Clinical advisor for both NICE CG 161 & QS 86 (falls) and the WHO Falls Prevention Technical Package. In addition, Julie is a NIHR reviewer on falls related studies and a collaborator/advisor for numerous medium/large scale falls related research studies and QI programmes relating to falls and fracture prevention in care settings.

Dr Julie Whitney
National Audit of Inpatient Falls clinical lead, Royal College of Physicians (RCP)

Julie Whitney is a lecturer in the Academic Department of Physiotherapy at King’s College London and a consultant practitioner at King’s College Hospital. Clinically, she is involved in assessment of older people presenting to the emergency department as part of the “frailty pathway”. Her research interests include fall risk assessment, the effects of ageing and associated conditions on mobility as well as evaluating physical activity and exercise interventions. She teaches on the BSc and MSc physiotherapy courses at King’s College London. She is also the clinical lead for the National Audit of Inpatient Falls and the South London CRN lead for Ageing.

Day 4: Improving Post Fall Management QI Project

20 September 2023

Shona MacKinnon, Hospital Falls Co-coordinator from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC) will share valuable insights from the implementation of their inpatient falls recovery quality improvement (QI) project developed across NHS GGC.


  • Title: Improving Post Fall Management QI Project
  • Date: Wednesday, 20 September 2023
  • Time: 12:00 – 13:00 BST
  • Duration: 1 hour


Shona MacKinnon
Hospital Falls Co-coordinator, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC)

Shona is a qualified nurse of 23 years, started nursing career in an acute surgical unit covering a variety of surgical specialities, moving forward to specialise in elective orthopaedic surgical wards for 10 years. Here, she used an enhanced recovery approach to promote early mobilisation in the post op patient. She then became a ward sister of a multi-surgical specialist unit before taking up the Hospital Falls Coordinator post at NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde nearly four years ago. Patient safety has always been a forefront with safe footwear, correct bed heights and post fall management being a profound passion. Outside of work, she likes to take her own risks by climbing Scottish mountains and likes to relax in her ‘home town’ of the Outer Hebrides.

Day 5: Free Falling

21 September 2023

Tara Marshall, RN MA Pt Safety, Director at These Hands Academy will focus on long stays and evaluate the range of free algorithms available and assess their impact from a clinical perspective.


  • Title: Free Falling
  • Date: Thursday, 21 September 2023
  • Time: 12:00 – 13:00 BST
  • Duration: 1 hour


Tara Marshall
RN MA Pt Safety, Director at These Hands Academy

After 25 years working in the NHS as an intensive care nurse, Tara has found her home in patient safety. After completing her training, she spent most of her nursing development at Guys and St Thomas’s teaching hospital in London, whilst there, she studied for a Master of Arts in Patient Safety Management at Loughborough University, focusing on human behavior and culture change. On moving back to the Midlands Tara then influenced the design of a digital observation system which was deployed across a large NHS Trust in the Midlands.

In 2019 Tara was invited to take a role as Deterioration Clinical Lead for the Eastern Patient Safety Collaborative, adding quality improvement and program management to her skill set, she now is supporting health and social care systems to undertake system wide quality improvement programs through her own consultancy.

Outside of work you will find her splitting her time between the outdoors and the arts, she immerses herself in theatre shows that challenge the norm exploring different genres including those that push the boundaries between entertainment and creative learning.

To fully relax, you will find her at sea; sailing has been a lifelong passion and one that has taken her to many places around the UK and Europe.

Make the pledge

Make the pledge Make the pledge

Let’s all use ‘Falls Awareness Week 2024’ to #BeFallsPrepared and reinforce our protocols for keeping
patients safe from falls—whatever the care setting may be.

To help you get started, we have prepared a digital campaign kit to support you as you educate your patients and staff on the following:

  • Safer mobility
  • Deconditioning prevention
  • Cognition
  • Safer environment
  • Medication
  • Malnutrition
  • Post-falls management
  • Emergency Department Falls Awareness Kit

How to contact us:

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Let’s make Falls Awareness Week 2024 the biggest yet!


1. Vonnes C, Wolf D. Fall risk and prevention agreement:engaging patients and familieswith a partnership for patient safety.BMJ Open Quality2017;6:e000038. doi:10.1136/bmjoq-2017-000038