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Are Non-slip Hospital Socks Truly Non-slip?

Falls in older adults are detrimental events that lead to poor health outcomes and decreased quality of life. Falls for hospitalized clients are a common yet multifaceted adverse event due to physical and environmental factors. Fall prevention strategies include proper footwear, patient education, use of assistive devices, exercise, medication review, and environmental adaptation. Using non-slip socks on fall-risk clients in healthcare establishments is standard practice for fall prevention. This type of footwear has a rubber or synthetic thread that aims to provide friction to aid with ambulation. However, current evidence has shown that these non-slip socks do not decrease the number of falls in hospital settings. Studies that have a decrease in fall rates show no correlation with the use of non-slip socks. During a clinical internship at a long-term care facility in Western MA, current evidence and clinical interactions with clients and staff identified the need for non-slip sock evaluation and safer footwear implementation to decrease the risk of falls. The staff informally reported veteran falls related to non-slip sock use and desired an alternative product. Samples of a safer non-slip sock alternative were obtained from the company Posey. Quick Dry Slippers by Posey were recommended for their rubber sole and comfortable sock material that may increase fall safety and client compliance. Staff education on current evidence and the new product will be provided as part of the pilot program using the new footwear and future monitoring is planned.

Anna Salter '23 
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