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Nurses' understandings of suitable footwear for older people

Borland, Andrea; Hollins Martin, Caroline J; Locke, John


Andrea Borland

John Locke


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.


Borland, A., Hollins Martin, C. J., & Locke, J. (2012). Nurses' understandings of suitable footwear for older people. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 26, 653-665.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 29, 2012
Deposit Date Aug 10, 2015
Publicly Available Date Aug 10, 2015
Print ISSN 0952-6862
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Pages 653-665
Keywords Falls; footwear; guidelines; nursing homes; older people; shoes; nurses; elderly people;
Public URL
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