Glimpses of Brilliance: Pimp my Zimmer

In Salford approximately 1,400 people are living in elderly care homes (residential and nursing).

In 2016 care homes in Salford identified an opportunity to work together and embarked on a programme to facilitate improvement in safety for residents and staff, focusing specifically on:

  • Reducing harm from falls
  • Medication safety
  • Pressure ulcer prevention

To focus on reducing harm from falls, an intervention was identified as part of a test of change.

Mary and Michael are both residents at Thornton Lodge Care Home. They both require the use of walking aids, but were often not using them.

Many residents, like Mary and Michael, are reluctant to use their walking aid, or end up using aids belonging to other residents, as they look so similar.

Carers decided to test ‘Pimp my Zimmer’ to encourage frequent fallers to identify and use their walking aids more often. This project also allowed staff to recognise when a resident is using the incorrect walking aid.

In some care homes, primary school children were invited in to decorate the Zimmer frames, increasing interaction between age groups.

Since having their Zimmer frames ‘pimped’, Mary has not had a single fall. Michael has fallen twice, but less frequently than before.

Residents are less likely to fall is properly using the correct walking aid prescribed to them.

This lady wouldn’t walk at all before we did this, it’s improving her mobility and her family love it because she’s up and about.

– Clinical Lead Nurse

Thornton Lodge decided to collect data on how often individual residents were falling before and after testing ‘Pimp my Zimmer’.

Using this information, the team then considered what further interventions could be tested to reduce the risk of falls.

You can find out more about our Safer Care Homes work here.