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Check Your Medicines Forum

Medicines, Sleep & Falls Risk at the Check Your Medicines Forum!

Guest speaker from top-left to bottom-right: Dr. John McLachlan, Deirdre Criddle, Dr. Pradeep Jayasuriya, Dr. Kate Ingram

“Have the confidence to start a conversation about medicine checks!” was one of the key messages from the Check Your Medicines forum, last Wednesday 10 June. Pharmacist and CoNeCT Coordinator at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Deirdre Criddle, noted the challenge to identify falls risks associated with medicines, but urged all professions to look after the wellbeing of their client, by sharing the responsibility to ask questions about medicine intake.

The forum audience, representing a diverse range of health professions including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing and health promotion, heard from four expert presenters at The Niche, who discussed how medicines are increasing the risk of falls in older adults.


Kate Ingram, Geriatrician and Clinical Lead at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, provided an insight into how medicines can impair an individual’s sensory and motor function, thus increasing their risk and severity of falls-related injuries. Dr Ingram highlighted the importance of non-medical management of insomnia to minimise the use of sleeping tablets and other sedatives prescribed to patients.

Sleep Physician John McLachlan from Fiona Stanley Hospital, explained the relationship between particular sleeping patterns, disorders and falls risk. Whilst management of these conditions traditionally involve medications, it is becoming very clear that this method is far from ideal. Medications are often increasing the incidence of falls amongst patients, and non-medical interventions are proving to be effective and safe alternatives.


The experience of medicines and falls risk of the community-based General Practitioner was shared by Pradeep Jayasuriya, who described the strategies implemented in his practice to safely reduce the number of medicines used by older adults. The involvement and collaboration of all health professions in the early recognition of falls risk factors, referrals for medicine checks or reviews and ongoing follow-up is crucial to reducing falls risk.


As the Check Your Medicines forum came to a close, it was clear by the continued discussion amongst audience members that the event had proven to be a valuable learning experience. Armed with increased awareness of medicine-related risk factors and strategies to work collaboratively with others to address them, the audience of the Check Your Medicines Forum left with newfound enthusiasm for their role in preventing falls in their current role.

The Stay On Your Feet® team would like to thank the wonderful guest speakers who dedicated much of their time and energy into producing four informative, engaging and insightful presentations about the important and often underplayed role of medicines in falls risk. Feedback provided thus far indicates that attendees were highly satisfied with the event, found it engaging and the information presented relevant to their current role. Some attendees have already begun putting their new knowledge and skills into practice, which is fantastic to hear!


Stay On Your Feet® is hosting a Build Your Balance forum, in October of this year, which will be another fantastic learning and networking opportunity for all health professionals. More information about this upcoming event will be available with the launch of the second campaign: Build Your Balance, running from 1 September – 30 November.


Did you attend the Check Your Medicines Forum? If so, Stay On Your Feet® would love your feedback! Complete a short survey here to help us continually improve the professional development opportunities we provide.

Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters
Injury Matters acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continuing connection to land, waters and community across Western Australia.