Evaluation of a ‘Safe Recovery’ intervention to prevent falls in rehabilitation wards



The ‘Safe Recovery’ intervention is an evidence-based program shown to reduce falls in Australian rehabilitation settings. However, translating interventions to different contexts can lead to different outcomes. In this study we worked alongside CDHB staff to evaluate the effectiveness of a 4-month pilot ‘Safe Recovery’ intervention aimed at reducing the number of falls within four older person rehabilitation wards. The SRP is distinct from many falls’ prevention programmes in that it uses individualised patient education programmes, combined with training and feedback to staff in the context of usual care, as its’ key mechanism for reducing falls risk. The different ways that the ‘Safe Recovery’ intervention was modified to make it suitable for the specific location (i.e., Burwood Hospital) and population were explored, contributing to the ongoing development of the ‘Safe Recovery’ intervention internationally.


We used realist evaluation methods to explore to what extent, and how, the ‘Safe Recovery’ programme worked in the Burwood Hospital context. We analysed de-identified process and outcome audit data, along with staff and patient surveys. We also conducted qualitative interviews and focus groups to explore the views of patients, staff and volunteers on their experience of the programme.

Status of Research

The 4-month pilot ran from August – November 2018.
Qualitative data analysis was completed in May 2019.
Final report completed.


Publication: Implementing a ‘Safe Recovery’ fall prevention program: Refining intervention theory using realist methods

Final Evaluation Report

NZRA Poster 19 April 2019: The Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment (ASSBI) and New Zealand Rehabilitation Association (NZRA) Inaugural Trans-Tasman Conference, 2-4 May 2019, Wellington, New Zealand.

BAIL Presents, 28 March 2019

Conference presentation: The 8th Biennial Australia and New Zealand Falls Prevention Conference (ANZFP), Hobart, Tasmania, 18th – 20th November 2018

Key Contact

Dr Rachelle Martin,
Burwood Academy of Independent Living.
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile:  +64 21 2233362
Email: rachelle.martin@burwood.org.nz

Researchers and Collaborators

Dr Jo Nunnerley,
Burwood Academy of Independent Living
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile:  +64 21 1872651
Email: jo.nunnerley@burwood.org.nz

Benn Dickie,
Older Persons Health, Canterbury District Health Board.

Rachel Marshall,
Older Persons Health, Canterbury District Health Board.

Dr Sarah Hurring,
Older Persons Health, Canterbury District Health Board.

Dr Helen Skinner,
Older Persons Health, Canterbury District Health Board.