Skip to content

New NHS pilot improves care for people who fall at home

06 September 2018

Falls crew Alex and KevinA new NHS service to help people who fall at home is improving care across Coastal West Sussex, and supporting people to recover at home with the right support. 

The Falls Response pilot brings together paramedics with occupational therapists, to respond to 999 calls when someone has fallen at home, and provide them with specialist support so they don’t need to be admitted to hospital.

In the first two months of the new service, more than 67 people who have fallen at home have been responded to by the new team, and only one in five of them needed further hospital treatment.

Vicky Kypta, Specialist Paramedic (Urgent & Emergency Care) and Trust Lead for Falls at South East Coast Ambulance NHS Trust said: “It is really great to see how this pilot service is already making a difference to local people.

“We know that on average there are around 17 calls a day to 999 relating to people in Coastal West Sussex who are over 65 years old and who have fallen. Of those, 24% of people would have previously been admitted to hospital.

“Clearly if someone needs medical treatment that can only be provided in hospital, they will absolutely still be taken to one of our local hospitals, but if they don’t need that level of medical attention, this specialist team can attend to them and help them to recover well at home, with a range of specialist equipment to support them.”

The pilot started in May 2018 and is a partnership between Sussex Community Foundation NHS Foundation Trust, South East Coast Ambulance Service and NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group.

The aim is to reduce the number of people who are taken to hospital when they could be cared for at home after a fall, help to support people so they don’t fall again, and to reduce the amount of time people are lying on the floor after a fall.

Dr Beth Meek, Clinical Lead at Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We know from national evidence that the longer a person is waiting on the floor after a fall can lead to serious health complications.

“This dedicated service can get to people who have fallen quickly and provide specialist support.

“Evidence from the service so far shows that most of the people who have been attended to have been seen by the team within an hour, which means they are reducing the risk of further injuries or complications from the fall, giving them a greater chance of recovering quickly and regaining their independence.”

The service is available Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm, and works directly with the 999 call handlers to identify people who can be appropriately seen by the new team.

In a specially adapted Falls Response vehicle, supplied by South East Coast Ambulance Service, the new team attend to the patient, treat any immediate medical concerns, and assess any additional support that is going to reduce the likelihood of the person falling again.

In their vehicle they have specialist lifting equipment, ADL and mobility aids to help the person when they get to their home. They can also prescribe more equipment to reduce future falls and support the person to live as independently as possible.

Tanya Brown-Griffith, Deputy Area Director (West) at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The feedback from patients has been really positive.

“We asked the 11 people that we attended to in July and they all said that they were satisfied with the assessment that the team carried out, and they were all happy with the standard of care provided by the team.

“People have also said that it is a ‘great service’, that it was ‘helpful to have both an occupational therapist and a paramedic together’, and that ‘they left me at home with a smile’ – all the types of comments we like to hear in the NHS.”

Bookmark and Share