Preventing falls in BSW

Colleagues and teams from across BSW have been busy marking Falls Awareness Prevention Week this week as they work together to help prevent avoidable falls.

Anyone can have a fall, but older people are more vulnerable and likely to fall, especially if they have a long-term health condition. Falls are sadly a common, but often overlooked, cause of injury. Around one in three adults over 65 and half of people over 80 will have at least one fall a year.

Each and every one of us has a role to play in raising awareness of falls across community, clinical and care settings and there has been a great deal of work taking place to do just that all across BSW.

In Bath and North East Somerset, a dedicated falls car has been introduced to the region’s roads to help clinicians from HCRG Care Group and South Western Ambulance Service to respond as quickly as possible when a fall takes place.

Care homes in Swindon, meanwhile, will soon be encouraging residents to channel their inner Olympian in preparation for the inaugural Swindon Senior Games, which is a 12-week programme of activity sessions designed to maintain and enhance balance and mobility.

Elsewhere, in Wiltshire, a pilot project is currently underway to provide specially adapted chairs, which can help a person get up safely after a fall, along with the corresponding training, to each of the county’s care homes.

Gill May, Chief Nurse, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “These schemes and initiatives are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are all sorts of different things happening right across our region to prevent falls.

“We know these injuries can be traumatic, and we know that older people who suffer falls often go on to develop other health issues, which sometimes require a hospital stay or special at-home care.

“Stopping falls from happening is key for us, and this notion goes hand in hand with our vision of becoming a health service that truly prioritises prevention so that people can live longer happier and healthier lives.”

Links to resources

Wiltshire Steady Steps booklet – this will be available soon

Wiltshire falls prevention classes

Wiltshire Council falls prevention videos

BaNES Falls Service Support and Information

BaNES Falls Service

Swindon Council Falls Prevention information

The impact of falls

  • Falls are the most common cause of death from injury in the over 65s
  • Short and long-term outlooks for patients are generally poor following a hip fracture, with an increased one-year mortality of between 18% and 33% and negative effects on daily living activities such as shopping and walking
  • A third of people over 65, and half of people over 80, fall at least once a year
  • The consequences of falls cost the NHS over £2bn a year and over 4 million bed days
  • A review of long-term disability found that around 20% of hip fracture patients entered long-term care in the first year after fracture.