Powered mobility device use in residential aged care: a retrospective audit of incidents and injuries

Dickson, Natalie C., Gohil, Apeksha, and Unsworth, Carolyn A. (2023) Powered mobility device use in residential aged care: a retrospective audit of incidents and injuries. BMC Geriatrics, 23. 363.

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Abstract

Background: Powered wheelchairs and motorised mobility scooters, collectively called powered mobility devices (PMD), are highly valued by older Australians, including those living in residential care, to facilitate personal and community mobility. The number of PMDs in residential aged care is expected to grow proportionally with that of the wider community, however, there is very little literature on supporting residents to use PMDs safely. Prior to developing such supports, it is important to understand the frequency and nature of any incidents experienced by residents whilst using a PMD. The aim of this study was to determine the number and characteristics of PMD use related incidents occurring in a group of residential aged care facilities in a single year in one state in Australia including incident type, severity, assessment, or training received and outcomes on follow-up for PMD users living in residential aged care.

Methods: Analysis of secondary data, including documentation of PMD incidents and injuries for one aged care provider group over 12 months retrospectively. Follow-up data were gathered 9–12 months post incident to review and record the outcome for each PMD user.

Results: No fatalities were recorded as a direct result of PMD use and 55 incidents, including collisions, tips, and falls, were attributed to 30 residents. Examination of demographics and incident characteristics found that 67% of residents who had incurred incidents were male, 67% were over 80 years of age, 97% had multiple diagnoses and 53% had not received training to use a PMD. Results from this study were extrapolated to project that 4,453 PMD use related incidents occur every year within Australian residential aged care facilities, with the potential for outcomes such as extended recovery, fatality, litigation, or loss of income.

Conclusion: This is the first time that detailed incident data on PMD use in residential aged care has been reviewed in an Australian context. Illuminating both the benefits and the potential risks of PMD use emphasizes the need to develop and improve support structures to promote safe PMD use in residential aged care.

Item ID: 79457
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2318
Keywords: Incidents, Injuries, Mobility scooter, Powered wheelchair
Copyright Information: © Crown 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.
Date Deposited: 01 May 2024 22:59
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420604 Injury prevention @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420320 Residential client care @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200403 Disability and functional capacity @ 100%
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