The proportion of older people in Northamptonshire is anticipated to increase at a faster rate than other age groups, with the over-65 population predicted to increase by 51 per cent by 2030. Predictive modelling suggests that over a 12-month period in the county, of the current population, 31,757 people will experience a fall, and more than 3,000 will be admitted to hospital as a result of a fall. The local authority is taking a strategic, system-wide approach to falls prevention, and after a consultation and engagement with local people and partner organisations developed a strategic commission framework for the county – Standing Up For Ourselves – which sets out a shared vision with explicit aims and measurable objectives.
Our partners in Northamptonshire have just released a new video which features local resident Gloria describing her experience of falls and the services available in the county to help prevent falls. The video gives plenty of advice on how to prevent falls and although the services described are specific to Northamptonshire it serves as a useful example of one way in which areas are seeking to make their services more accessible.
Networking event hears about Stand Up, Stay Up
By Jim Oram
RoSPA public health project officer
RoSPA’s Stand Up, Stay Up national falls prevention programme was highlighted and promoted at Northamptonshire’s first networking event for the health, social care, private and volunteer sectors. The RoSPA-funded Falls and Bone Health Network Event at Kettering’s Corn Market Exchange attracted dozens of professionals from a number of organisations. The aim of the day was to build networks with local partners who could contribute to, and influence, the countywide falls prevention programme.
Information was given about falls prevention initiatives, including home hazard assessments, community-based Otago exercise sessions, awareness training for frontline staff and web-based resources. A presentation by the National Osteoporosis Society turned the spotlight on bone health programmes and research.
Attendees heard that in Northamptonshire the aim is to make falls everyone’s business and ensure that everyone plays their PART:
A local action plan is being delivered in the county through work with a local Implementation Group of key stakeholders.
A presentation identified the benefits of partnership working:
- Well attended, regular implementation group meetings
- Practical evidence of change – for example, Otago sessions
- Identification of key professionals to become falls prevention “champions”
- Ensuring that falls prevention is embedded in contract expectations.
Delegates pledged to ensure partnership development and strengthened pathways to prevent falls in Northamptonshire.
Pilot pharmacy training goes national
A workshop aimed at increasing the understanding of how pharmacy teams can help to prevent falls is being made available nationally following successful delivery in Northamptonshire.
CPPE (The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education), in collaboration with Northampton LPC, Northampton County Council and RoSPA, developed the workshop on falls prevention and bone health which was delivered to 32 pharmacy professionals, enabling them to better support patients, identify risks and help prevent falls.
Reducing falls for people with Alzheimer’s
People who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease are known to be at greater risk from a variety of health issues including falls. Stand Up Stay Up partners in Northamptonshire are addressing this through an initiative to reduce hazards in the homes of people who suffer from the disease. Led by Care and Repair Northamptonshire with support from RoSPA and the Alzheimer’s Society the initiative enables improvements such as fitting grab rails, making steps and walkways more visible and fitting shower seats. Initial findings show that the fear of falling has reduced for most of the clients visited so far.
Mr B, lives with his wife in own property
Pre-Intervention Fear of Falling: 5 generally, but 9 at front door
Post-Intervention Fear of Falling: 2
Mr B’s main concern was fear of falling when entering the front of the property and our technician assessed for and fitted grab rails to the main entrance; Mr B declined the offer of coloured grab rails, opting for traditional white which he felt showed up well against the brickwork.
Client Mr H, lives with his wife in own property
Pre-Intervention Fear of Falling: 6 (wary)
Post-Intervention Fear of Falling: 2
Mr H was initially referred as needing a grab rail fitted to his shower. Our technician visited to fit the grab rail and carried out a home assessment. The assessment identified that Mr H had problems getting into and out of his house and would greatly benefit from cranked handrails being fitted. Our technician re-visited to carry out this work.
Client Mr E, lives in own property with wife
Pre-Intervention Fear of Falling: 3
Post-Intervention Fear of Falling: 1
Our technician visited and fitted a grab rail to the shower area. He carried out a home assessment which highlighted that Mr E would also benefit from further grab rails, to the top of the stair and to the front entrance. Additionally, there was a paved area to the back garden that required levelling as represented a potential trip hazard. Our technician fitted the grab rails through the RoSPA project, and we provided Mr E with a quote to carry out the levelling works to the garden.