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CareFall – a new e-learning tool from the RCP

2021 Update: The CareFall e-learning resource will be temporarily unavailable from 1 January 2021 due to required upgrades to the flashplayer technology. For further information and timelines contact fffap.org.uk

‘CareFall’, a new interactive inpatient e-learning tool for doctors about what to do if a patient is on the floor and subsequent actions to ensure moving/assessing/treating safely, has been launched today.

CareFall covers the safe and effective management of a patient who falls in hospital.  This makes it an ideal learning tool for junior doctors, who are often the first doctors to see a patient after a fall, and for locum doctors, who may be unfamiliar with the ward’s individual procedures.

The e-learning tool has been developed by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), in partnership with Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and commissioned by NHS England. The tool covers the knowledge needed to identify and reduce patient and environmental risk factors to assist with reducing inpatient falls.

CareFall concentrates on the key areas of knowledge for foundation doctors, including what to do after a patient falls, the relationship between medication and falls, and cardiovascular causes of falls. The tool has been developed with junior doctors and trainees, and is based on National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) and NICE guidance.

CareFall follows the success of FallSafe, which developed an e-learning course for hospital ward nurses, and to date has seen over 12,000 NHS staff, mainly nurses, complete the e-learning course.

Dr Anita Donley, RCP clinical vice president and consultant physician in acute medicine said:  

Older people are at an increased risk of falling which is worsened if they are in hospital, frail and ill. A fall in hospital can lead to a longer inpatient stay and a higher likelihood of the need for long-term care. CareFall marks a significant advancement in ensuring that doctors are best able to prevent falls and work with the rest of the multidisciplinary team to ensure that patients receive the best care following a fall. A resource like this, following the success of FallSafe and the e-learning resources for nurses, means that all members of the multidisciplinary team can work together with the same learning to make sure that patients who fall are receiving the best care possible.

Dr Jane Youde, CareFall Clinical lead and Consultant geriatrician, Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

It is crucially important that we reduce the number of inpatient falls in hospitals and to achieve this we need to equip foundation level doctors with the skills they need to recognise the risks associated with falls and to understand what to do after a patient falls. With an increasingly frail elderly population it is vital that we do all we can to reduce the number of falls which have such serious consequences for many of our patients. Derby Hospitals were pleased to collaborate with this project.

Julie Windsor, NHS England Patient Safety lead, Older People and Falls, said:

This new e-learning course is an important resource that will support doctors to provide the best quality and safe care to this vulnerable patient group. Almost a quarter of a million patient falls are reported by hospitals in England to the National Reporting and Learning System each year, making it by far the most reported patient safety incident. We review and learn from these reports to help us develop further solutions to prevent falls, such as the new CareFall e-learning tool, which complements the existing version for nurses.

Nurses who have tested the e-learning tool say they are finding it useful:

Starting from quite a low knowledge base, the e-learning session had huge impact and I learnt far more from it than I expected. The visual impact it had was enormous. I would never have come away with so much practical information from written material.


For more information, please contact Linda Cuthbertson, head of PR, on 0203 075 1254 / 0774 877 7919, or email Linda.Cuthbertson@rcplondon.ac.uk

Notes to editors

  • The CareFall tool has been developed in partnership with consultant geriatricians, junior doctors and the patient safety team at NHS England. CareFall has been funded by NHS England, designed and produced by the Royal College of Physicians and NHS England in collaboration with Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • CareFall does not replace NHS Trust’s own guidance and should be used by all staff in conjunction with Trusts’ existing policies.
  • The e-learning tool is approximately one hour long and is split into several different sections: introduction, a patient story, pre-fall management, post fall management (hip fracture and head injury most common injuries from falls resulting in mortality) and environmental risk factors.
  • Participants receive a certificate upon completion of the e-learning course.
  • CareFall will be available for doctors to use and complete on the following platforms:
    • e-learning Repository
    • e-learning for healthcare (e-Lfh)