We are delighted to confirm the East Lancashire Falls Response Service Team (FRS) has been chosen as North West regional winners for the Excellence in Urgent and Emergency award.
The FRS is a partnership between NWAS and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT). It sees the collaboration of a Paramedic and an Occupational Therapist 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.
People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling; around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year. Unaddressed fall hazards in the home are estimated to cost NHS England a staggering £435 million.
83% per cent of the patients treated by the FRS remained at home, many were referred onwards to community teams and specialist nursing teams. This means that the team is successfully making a difference by getting people who fall the help they need at home to prevent them falling again, as taking them to hospital isn’t always the right place for them to go.
From the start of the service to June 2020 FRS has attended 4946 incidents, and kept 83% of those patients at home. For the first 6 months of 2020 they have attended 487 patients and 84% of those patients remained at home and avoiding the need to attend the Emergency Department, which was particularly important during the peak of first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the above, other paramedic crews will ring for advice or refer patients to the FRS for a follow up assessment – which gives crews confident to support people to remain at home. When the service received these referrals they check first whether community therapy teams are already involved and will refer back to them if they are, to prevent any duplication.
The project was set up at very short notice in response to winter pressures during the winter of 2014-15 with time limited funding. The car has now been on the road for five years, it was originally 5 day service expanded to 7 in 2017.
Due to the success of the scheme’s model, it has received a lot of interest from other organisations both in and outside of the UK and the team has shared its innovative practice ideas with others. New services who have set up by the Scottish Ambulance Service (Glasgow division), St Helens, Bath, Guernsey, Dublin, North Midlands and Devon.
On winning the regional award Gail Smith, the paramedic who works on the car said: “I am really amazed and humbled to be nominated for the award, never mind actually winning the North West region out of 700 nominations.”
The LRS’ award will now go head to head with all other regional winners at a ceremony in Parliament in July 2021. Congratulations to everyone involved in this fantastic initiative and wish them good luck in the overall awards.