Nurses' understandings of suitable footwear for older people.

International journal of health care quality assurance

PubMedID: 24167923

Borland A, Martin CH, Locke J. Nurses' understandings of suitable footwear for older people. Int J Health Care Qual Assur. 2013;26(7):653-65.
PURPOSE
The purpose of this paper is to gain insight into nurses' understandings of what constitutes suitable footwear for older people in care homes.

DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH
An exploratory descriptive qualitative survey was carried out of 20 registered nurses employed in six Scottish care homes for older people. Data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire that included five open-ended questions. Content analysis was used to theme footwear perceptions.

FINDINGS
Participants had several views about what encompasses safe footwear; some were erroneous. The link between inappropriate footwear and falls was recognised by 80 per cent of respondents, but some were unclear about the features that effect or inhibit safety. No UK or international standardised guidelines were identified that advise nurses about appropriate footwear for older people.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS
It is unknown whether respondents represent the nurse population because findings are restricted by a small sample size. Nonetheless, the group showed variable understanding of what constitutes safe footwear for older people and links with fall prevention. Improved nurse-education about what comprises safe footwear and the links with falls prevention in older people is required. Structured guidelines to direct nurse educators about what to teach student nurses about appropriate footwear for older people may work towards reducing falls.

ORIGINALITY/VALUE
No guidelines to direct nurses about appropriate footwear for older people in care homes have been written. Key points have been developed.