If the Slipper Fits

It might not have been Prince Charming with a glass slipper, but Staff Nurse Cheril Bretenoux was making sure the right size fitted when she kitted out patient Margaret Rankin in Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Margaret is one of a couple of hundred elderly people who are being supplied with free slippers, courtesy of the Friends of Forth Valley Royal Hospital, as part of a falls prevention programme. Also pictured is Friends chairman Bob Ness, who said the pilot project, which has cost £1500, is being used as part of the falls prevention programme.

He explained: “Our policy is concentrated on helping older people throughout the hospital. We noticed that some elderly patients were coming into wards with slippers that had slippery soles and could be dangerous. The ones we have chosen are comfortable but have soles with an excellent grip. The Friends are delighted to be able to help with this important approach which could be extended if proved successful.”

NHS Forth Valley AHP Consultant for Older People’s Services, Lesley Yarrow, added: “There is strong evidence which suggests that ill fitting footwear or footwear in poor condition can contribute to falls in older people. As part of our approach to falls prevention in hospital in Forth Valley we try to encourage older people and their carers to bring in their own well fitting shoes or slippers. However, this is not always possible for carers or relatives, as older people may come into hospital as an emergency and accessing their own footwear at home can sometimes be difficult.

“Lack of suitable footwear can then result in longer periods of immobility while in hospital and this can make rehabilitation more difficult and cause older people to lose confidence. With this in mind we wanted to be able to offer suitable footwear to those patients who could not otherwise access their own. This would then allow early mobilisation and rehabilitation.”

The scheme is being rolled out across four wards – A11, A32, B21/22 and B23 -.on a trial basis, and the Friends have initially supplied 24O pairs of slippers, ladies and gents, in a range of colours. Supplies of slippers will be monitored and patients asked for feedback.