Connexus Falls Care teams help to reduce burden on NHS
Our Falls Care teams will be working right throughout Christmas, looking out for Herefordshire's older and more vulnerable residents should they suffer a fall. We take a closer look at the vital work they do and how it helps to reduce the strain on the NHS.
Here’s a stat that will surprise some of you, but perhaps not those with an older relative (or relatives) who live alone: Around 1 in 3 adults over 65 who live at home will have at least 1 fall a year. About half of these will have frequent falls.
It’s something many of us living distant from our older relatives worry about – what would happen if they had a fall at home? In the short term, the main problem immediately following the fall could be simply reaching the telephone to phone an ambulance. And, over the longer term, you may wonder about how to prevent another fall happening in the future and how to coordinate any further care needs, especially in light of NHS resources being stretched thinner than ever before during the Coronavirus pandemic.
For those living in Herefordshire, or with relatives in the area, our Falls Care Responder and Falls Care Navigator teams are here to help.
Falls Care Responder
A relative rushes down the stairs to answer the phone before it rings out. They miss a step, slip and fall onto the hallway floor.
Our Falls Care Responder service provides an emergency pendant alarm to those who are vulnerable to a fall in their home. The lightweight emergency pendant is activated by an easy-to-press button, putting the user straight through to our call centre. Our teams will call an ambulance if the fall is urgent and medical attention is needed. If the fall is non-urgent but still severe, then our Falls Care Responder team rapidly deploys one of their rapid response vehicles. These vehicles have everything our trained teams need to assist those who have taken a bad fall, including specialist lifting equipment, patient transfer board, and a defibrillator for cardiac emergencies.
Arriving at the scene, the Falls Care Responder team is trained to first assess the scene, contacting NHS 111 if any immediate emergency care is first required. The team then use the appropriate specialist lifting equipment to, with consent, lift the fallen individual. Besides this important practical help, our team are also trained to provide reassurance and support after what has usually been a shock. Carers, friends and family are called to attend if required.
A 3-way partnership between Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Connexus, the Falls Care Responder service helps fallen individuals and helps to take some pressure off the already strained resources of the NHS, primarily through reducing the number of ambulance call-outs.
Falls Care Navigator
So: your relative has suffered a nasty fall at home. Fortunately, they had there Falls Care Responder emergency pendant on and the team was able to lift and assist them. But what if they keep taking repeated falls, as so many over-65s sadly do?
The Falls Care Navigator service is dedicated to supporting frequent fallers across Herefordshire, connecting them with community support groups and other support resources in the area. This is all to reduce the risk and severity of subsequent falls and further reduce the number of non-urgent ambulance call-outs.
Our Falls Care Navigator team are specially trained to assess every client’s individual needs and so their assistance varies from client to client, but can involve arranging a review of medication at the client’s pharmacy, a referral to a falls prevention service (who may advise on safety adaptions to prevent future falls) and being a link between the client’s family, GP, social worker (if applicable) and other agencies.
What do the Navigator team do? A case study
“I can tell you about a case that perfectly demonstrates what the Navigator team do: A 78-year-old man and his 89-year-old wife used their emergency Responder pendants, who arrived promptly, assessed the scene and called an ambulance. Following this incident, the Responder team then referred the couple over to ourselves at the Navigator service.
The Navigator team was able to arrange home visits from the couple’s GP and Occupational Therapists, who provided a walking stick and installed a grab rail in the kitchen, amongst other adaptions. This couple was reluctant to engage with services at first, but the Navigator team reassured and supported them over the phone and gradually broke down the barriers. I was so proud of the whole team when I read the couple’s feedback, which was full of praise for restoring confidence in their mobility and reducing the number of falls at home.” – Sarah Jones, Falls Care Navigator.
Less strain on the NHS. Reassurance for relatives.
We’ve already explored how the Falls Care Responder and Falls Care Navigator services take the strain off our over-stretched NHS in Herefordshire. But, while this is important, the positive impact on the lives of our clients and their relatives cannot be overstated. Perhaps more than ever, many of us worry about an older relative living remotely who would struggle if they were to take a bad fall.
The Falls Care teams are always there to assist, support and reassure: throughout the pandemic, over Christmas, and beyond. 24/7, 365 days a year.