Innovative partnership to help prevent falls

A joint initiative between Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sefton Council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service aims to help prevent falls in older people and avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital.

People in South Sefton area who have fallen, are at risk of falling or fear falling can now benefit from a programme of educational sessions, exercise and assistance to make their homes safer.

The programme is designed to increase balance and co-ordination, while improving strength and mobility. Safety and independence in the home, via home assessments, will also help to keep people well.

The initiative is being run by Mersey Care’s South Sefton (ICRAS) therapy teams, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Sefton Council’s Active Lifestyles and was launched at an event at Bootle and Netherton Fire Station this week.

The aim is for those taking part to undergo an eight week programme, with the option of progressing on to Sefton’s Council’s Active Lifestyles classes which are also held at the fire station.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) has an important role to play by being able to refer directly into falls prevention services from their home safety assessments.

Mark Thomas, Prevention Manager for MFRS, said: “Our crews and advocates engage with hundreds of people on a daily basis during Home Fire Safety Checks and Safe and Well visits. Often during these visits, we meet older and more vulnerable people who may need a helping hand in identifying areas in the home that may cause trips or falls.

“We are very happy to support this initiative and share information with our partners to ensure that we can keep our older people safe in their homes.”

When older people fall, their injuries can be more serious because of the increased likelihood of osteoporosis (thinning bones), making broken bones more likely, especially amongst women. A key part of the service is to help avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital and the possibility of being transferred for long-term care following a fall.

Falls prevention partnership oct 2018
 A joined up approach to falls prevention and education with, from left to right: Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service prevention team manager Ellie Williams, Active Steps Group and Falls Team Leader at Sefton Community Services Carol Hall, and Active Lifestyles Development Manager at Sefton Council Lindsay McDowall, at the launch event

Cathy Long, Clinical Lead for South Sefton ICCT Teams, said: “As well as keeping people safe and mobile, reducing falls also helps to relieve pressure on GPs, hospitals and the ambulance service.

“On average, one in three over 65-year-old people is likely to fall in the coming year and the physical and emotional effects of this on older patients cannot be underestimated. Falling can often trigger a loss in confidence and increase dependency.

“Our challenge is to work as hard as possible to reduce this likelihood and make falls an uncommon occurrence and it is terrific to be teaming up with our partners Sefton Council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to help achieve this. “

Active Lifestyles Development Manager for Sefton Council Lindsay McDowall said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership as part of the active aging falls prevention programme funded by South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group.”

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