Effective falls prevention programme sees 18 percent less fall attendances at Wirral hospitals over 3-year period
Helping reduce the number of falls older people experience in Wirral, as well as reducing costs and maintaining independence amongst older people, the Medequip Falls Prevention Service has helped reduce the average number of falls by three per week.
The Wirral Falls Prevention Service was originally commissioned by Public Health with the overall aim to reduce the number of falls experienced by people in Wirral aged 65 and above.
In July 2015, the service was included in the Wirral Independence Service contract and the commission was awarded to Medequip UK.
The small, multidisciplinary Medequip team consists of physiotherapists, and occupational therapist, nurses and technical instructors, who place an emphasis on education, training, creating safer environments, prioritising fall-related research and establishing effective policies to reduce risk. The team has successfully built and enhanced services and facilities for patients, contributing towards a notable reduction in falls and associated costs for Wirral NHS.
The team focuses on falls assessments, including a detailed multi factorial needs assessment and making use of a clear referral pathway to other agencies, dependent upon the outcome of the assessment. Trained instructors deliver suitable evidence-based progressive Postural Stability Instruction programmes, with community chair-based programmes for frailer individuals.
In addition, the team also provides training to staff working with vulnerable older people, particularly nursing, residential home staff and carers, to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge and support to undertake initial falls screening assessments.
Alongside this work, the Medequip Falls Prevention Service has developed a public awareness education programme including a presentation delivering falls risk information, self-management and healthy living advice, delivered to client groups within community settings.
A comprehensive booklet entitled ‘Taking Positive Steps’ has also been written and produced, advising older people on falls risks and how to prevent them.
79 percent of referees to the Medequip Wirral Falls Prevention Service had no further falls at six weeks post-intervention and the average number of falls reduced by three per week. Additionally, more than three-quarters of referees had improved confidence in activities of daily living and 90 percent of lower impact chair-based programme attendees showed improved balance.
In addition, the Falls Prevention Service has played a part in ensuring that fall attendances at Wirral hospitals have decreased by 18 percent from 14,800 in 2014/15 to 12,210 in 2017/2018.
Medequip is now looking closely at investing in this area of expertise to develop it into a transferable model for other areas where the company operates community equipment services contracts.