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Astraline, a national provider of telecare solutions, has recently teamed up with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust to support more elderly and disabled people out in the community.

Following a successful regional pilot project, Astraline and its team of care operators can now be contacted by an NWAS clinician to respond to certain calls in Cheshire on their behalf, where first aid is required instead of emergency treatment.

The aim of the new partnership is to free up the ambulance service’s team to be able to respond to life-threatening emergencies while Astraline operators respond to non-emergency calls in the community, where a resident might have had a fall.

Astraline also offers residents professional advice on how to prevent future accidents and falls in the home.

Carol Robertson, NWAS Community Specialist Paramedic in Cheshire, said: “As a paramedic I regularly see incidents where patients have had a fall at home and often these people are not in need of life-saving emergency care and hospital isn’t the best place for them. They require basic first aid or an appropriate community service and a little help and information at home to prevent them falling again.

“Across the North West there are a number of schemes like this our clinicians can refer patients who have fallen to, providing they have consent. The aim to help patients who are at risk of falls.

“In this instance an NWAS clinician will determine the suitability of a patient for Astraline following a telephone assessment. Clinicians can ask Astraline’s care operators to respond to non-emergency calls outs in the community which help people who require first aid rather than immediate emergency care. This frees up our crews to respond to life-threatening emergencies.”

According to the telecare provider, falls remain one of the most common injuries and emergency admissions for older people in the UK. As a result, Astraline says its services and connections with the NHS have never been more important.

Joe McLoughlin, Director Astraline and Innovation, commented: “We are incredibly proud to be in partnership with NWAS and support the world-renowned NHS emergency services. We hope to roll this unique partnership out more widely across the UK, to ensure the older generation is being supported to live safely within the comfort of their homes.

“Working in partnership with NWAS and using their electronic referral information sharing system (ERISS) reduces unnecessary hospital admissions. This provides a model for other regions and clearly helps to create needed capacity within the NHS and deliver savings.

“In the current pandemic many older people have been separated from their loved ones and have had to rely on a stretched NHS for often minor incidents. I would encourage all families in this situation to consider the benefits a service like Astraline can provide, when making decisions about the future independence and wellbeing of their loved ones. Our caring and reliable services give families peace of mind and can deliver the right response at the right time.”

In a recent report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, the committee recommended that local authorities introduce more comprehensive TEC services to facilitate safe and independent living amongst older people.

With the planned switchover from analogue telecare services to digital services, the report says that more TEC services will go beyond responding to alarms and will be able to monitor behaviours in the home to identify potential issues and adopt early intervention strategies. This could prevent health conditions from worsening and reduce hospital admissions through early intervention, the committee suggests.

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