1,500 Norfolk care homes benefit from falls tech that reduces ambulance callouts by 75 percent
A recent pilot by Norfolk County Council has seen avoidable ambulance callouts to resident falls within care homes in the region reduce by 75 percent with the introduction of an initiative that combines a health assessment app called ISTUMBLE and a Mangar lifting cushion from medical equipment manufacturer Winncare.
Lifting a resident within one hour of a fall is vital to avoid the damaging consequences resulting from lying on the floor for more than an hour while waiting for help (known as a long lie), according to Winncare. Traditionally, care homes call the ambulance service for support when lifting fallen residents, but over half are uninjured and do not need medical help or transferring to hospital, the manufacturer says.
ISTUMBLE is used to help carers make good decisions on when to lift and when to call an ambulance.
The care homes in the Norfolk pilot combined ISTUMBLE training with the use of the specialist lifting cushion to safely move residents quickly and comfortably.
Cllr Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Helping people recover their health and their confidence after a fall is really important, and I’m delighted this project has achieved such excellent results.
“More than that, it’s an example of just how closely linked the care sector and the NHS is, and shows that simple acts of working together, such as via the ISTUMBLE App, can bring real and tangible benefits to the NHS, to care homes and, most importantly, to the residents themselves.”
Winncare, which manufactures the lifting cushions and owns the ISTUMBLE app, has been supplying lifting cushions to the ambulance service in Norfolk since 2006.
Simon Claridge, Winncare CEO, commented: “We’ve been working with councils and CCGs for a number of years now and the evidence is building around the benefits of post fall management processes that reduce the length of time a resident is left on the floor after a fall.
“It became clear that by empowering care homes to perform robust health assessments on their residents and lift them safely benefits the resident, the care home and the ambulance service.
“Through initiatives like the Norfolk one, we have supported over 1,500 care homes across the UK to benefit from the project. More than 22,000 healthcare workers now use the ISTUMBLE™ health assessment app to support safe patient lifting in their workplace, so reducing ambulance calls outs and avoidable hospital admissions and saving the NHS millions annually.”
Care home residents are at a higher risk of falling than the general population, and each event can cost the NHS up to £1,382 if not managed efficiently, Winncare says.
It is estimated that there are between 600 and 3,600 falls per 1,000 beds per year resulting in significant demands on the ambulance service, particularly during times of winter pressures, the specialist lifting cushion manufacturer underlines.
Dr Sue West-Jones, a consultant in emergency medicine, added: “The reason I became involved with the ISTUMBLE™ project is that it is so profoundly positive for residents of care homes and those who care for them. In 20 years of emergency medicine, I have never seen an exacerbation of damage to a broken femur of an elderly patient who has been carefully lifted with an appropriate lifting device.”
A rural elderly community in Wales has also been using a Winncare lifting cushion to help residents get up safely from the floor after a fall.
The initiative aims to help residents who feel disconnected from mainstream NHS services due to their rural location, as well as cut long waiting times for people who do not need an ambulance post-fall and can be safely lifted with the specialist cushion.