Unaddressed fall hazards in the home are estimated to cost the NHS in England £435 million – a staggering amount. Last year we attended to 91,285 patients who had fallen. While many of these are simply one off accidents, there are lots of people out there who are more vulnerable and susceptible to falling.
Our joint Falls Response Service is trying to tackle this and provides specialist emergency support to people aged 65 and over who have fallen at home or in residential or nursing care. Currently operating in East Lancashire, Liverpool, St Helens and Southport, the service is a partnership between NWAS, hospital trusts or CCGs in the respective areas.
We have a paramedic and an occupational therapist on a dedicated falls car who respond to non-life threatening 999 calls for falls so that patients can be treated at home without having to go to hospital or can be referred to an appropriate community service.
The East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen service in partnership with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has been running the longest and celebrated its fifth birthday earliest this year.
Paramedic Gail Smith who has worked on the car from the beginning says: “We give each patient a medical assessment and an occupational therapy assessment so we see what factors have contributed to their fall both in terms of their health, activities of daily living and their home surroundings.
“In August 2020 81% of the patients we treated remained at home many of which were referred onwards to community teams and specialist nursing teams.
“Taking people who have fallen to hospital isn’t always the right place for them to go so we’re getting people who fall the help they need at home to prevent them falling again.”