latest health care news

10.05.12

30% falls reduction possible with integrated plan

A national plan could cut falls by up to 30%, a new report by the NHS Confederation suggests. Falls are one of the most common causes of death resulting from injury in the over-75s, and an integrated strategy could help reduce this, the report states.

One in three over-65s and half of those over 80 will suffer a fall each year. In addition to the physical consequences, falls can have a damaging psychological impact, resulting in loss of confidence and independence, and increased isolation and depression.

The Department of Health has stated that a falls prevention strategy could reduce the number of falls by 15-30%. The NHS Confederation recommends investment in rehabilitation and prevention services to achieve this.

The report calls for health and social care services to share data to keep track of people who fall and the care they receive, and for councils to provide falls prevention information and support. Key targets should also be set to reduce falls.

Ambulance Service Network director Jo Webber said: “Falls are not only physically debilitating but, particularly for older people, they really knock their confidence and can slow recovery.

“We have to take the opportunity of the NHS reforms to get organisations across health, social care and local authorities working together.

“Effective falls services that are already up and running across the country show that for little initial investment patients are getting better care, more falls are being prevented and money is being saved.

“Half the people in this country over 80 will suffer a fall this year. As our population gets older, we have to recognise that working together on falls is going to be even more of a priority.

“There are mechanisms available in the NHS reforms to make joint working possible but they will require leadership from the national to local level to really work.”

To view the report, visit: www.nhsconfed.org/Publications/briefings/Pages/FallsPreventionNewApproaches.aspx

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