A trial of non-slip socks for reducing falls risk on an acute hospital ward

Miss Sophie Leworthy1

1Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Australia

Background:  Evidence indicates the cost of inpatients falling and sustaining injury whilst in hospital is immense, both to the individual and to the health system. Typically the risk of falls is higher on wards that accommodate older people with complex conditions such as delirium and dementia; observations in the Royal Hobart Hospital Acute Older Persons Unit (AOPU) align with this.

Aim:  Non-slip socks were introduced for a 4 month trial in an attempt to reduce the risk of falling for patients admitted to this ward. The socks were offered to all patients and it was their choice to accept or decline the intervention after receiving information regarding their purpose.

Method:  Subjective and objective data, in the form of incident reports and pre-discharge surveys, were collected from patients over the 4 month trial period. In addition staff were surveyed at half way and the end of the trial for their feedback on adjustments required, their perception of the success of the socks in reducing patient falls risk, and how the intervention affected their workload. The socks used for the trial were specifically selected for their double sided grip and purchased from a medical supplier.

Results:  The data indicated a decrease in the number of falls recorded during the trial period, compared with the same period the previous year. Furthermore, all patients and staff viewed the socks as a positive intervention for reducing the risk of falls.

Conclusion:  Based on the results of this trial non-slip socks are now an intervention offered to every patient admitted to the AOPU to reduce their risk of falling.  The socks are also available for purchase from the auxiliary in the hospital canteen.


Sophie is a senior Occupational Therapist who has been working at the Royal Hobart Hospital for 10 years. For the last 6 years she has been working on the Acute Older Persons Unit (AOPU). Sophie is about to finish her Master of Gerontology from Charles Sturt University, during which she completed a literature review on the use of non-slip socks in falls prevention.  This has led to a trial of non-slip socks on the AOPU.

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