“Team spirit” sees inpatient falls drop by 70% on Harrogate District Hospital ward thanks to ‘safety huddles’

Posted on: Monday 20 May 2019

Staff on Oakdale Ward at Harrogate District Hospital have been praised for their “team spirit” after inpatient falls fell by an impressive 70% in under a year thanks to safety huddles.

Oakdale Ward at Harrogate District Hospital – part of Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust – has seen a reduction of 70% in the number of patient falls on the ward since June 2018.

Oakdale Ward is a 29 bedded ward, which provides care for patients with stroke, neurology, oncology and haematological conditions. The ward has a dedicated team of nurses, doctors and non-clinical staff who provide high standards of patient care.

Safety huddles involve all ward staff, including doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and domestics, getting together on a daily basis to discuss a particularly subject, with falls taking priority as part of Oakdale Ward’s daily huddle. Staff on the ward meet every morning, including weekends, to discuss which patients are most at risk of falling on the ward.

They discuss patients who they feel are at risk and agree on a plan of action for that patient, ensuring that interventions are put in place to keep them as safe as possible. Benefits of safety huddles include reductions in the lengths of patient stays in hospital, keeping patients safe through a joined-up approach from staff and improved communication between the whole team.

The reduction of 70% in patient falls on Oakdale Ward has seen the longest they have gone without a patient fall rise to 40 days on two occasions. This is compared to eight days before they implemented their falls ‘safety huddles’.

Tammy Gotts, Matron for Oakdale Ward, said: “The team spirit I have seen from staff on the ward since we implemented our ‘safety huddles’ has been fantastic and has had a huge impact on patient safety.

“Staff have engaged really well with the huddles, and I am extremely proud of them for working together to achieve such an outstanding reduction. The fact that something that can seem so small has such a huge impact on the care of our patients shows how important safety huddles are for all staff on wards.”

The huddles on Oakdale Ward have been accredited by the Improvement Academy (part of the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network).

Carmel Lister, Falls Prevention Co-Ordinator and Huddle Coach with the Trust, said: “It’s excellent that staff have been so engaged from the first huddle and have kept the momentum going. Safety is now firmly embedded into daily practice on Oakdale Ward.”


Pictured: Oakdale Ward staff mark their 70% reduction in inpatient falls following their introduction of safety huddles.

For further information please contact:

Jamie Wright, Communications and Marketing Assistant, [email protected] and 01423 557732.