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By 2030 the number of people aged over 65 in Lancashire predicted to have a fall is due to increase by 40 per cent, prompting the introduction of a unique falls prevention service.
STEADY On! was rolled out in Lancashire to improve mortality rates from accidental falls, reduce hospital admissions and ambulance call outs, and provide older residents with a reassuring and practical approach to boost independence and improve health and wellbeing.
SPREADING THE BENEFITS
The Innovation Agency is supporting the spread of the service by funding the adoption of STEADY On! in more than 40 residential homes throughout Lancashire, following evidence of its success in reducing pressure on the NHS in the county.
STEADY On! is working with the Innovation Agency to spread the service regionally and nationally raising the profile of STEADY On! with NHS partners to ensure the service is included in any wider prevention plans developed by regional transformation partnerships.
A Health Needs Assessment in November 2014 by Lancashire County Council’s Business Intelligence Unit reported a predicted 40 per cent increase in those aged over 65 having a fall by 2030. It was also estimated that 30 per cent of the same age group and half of those aged over 80 will experience a fall at least once a year.
About one in 20 older people experience a fracture or require hospitalisation after a fall, with falls in those aged over 65 accounting for four million bed days a year, at an estimated cost of £2 billion. In addition, in the 12 months following a fall, ongoing social care costs were shown to increase by 37 per cent.
HOW IT WORKS
STEADY On! supports those at risk of falling through a hands-on service combining education and community collaboration, with one-to-one home assessments, structured sessions and events. Initial evidence from the approach has shown improved mobility, a reduction in ambulance call outs and fewer A&E admissions.
Developed by the falls prevention team at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Central Lancashire, STEADY On! also offers a referral pathway for front line staff and the service is operating across Lancashire.
Evaluation of STEADY On! has shown positive feedback from residents regarding their health and mobility, plus a reduction in problems with anxiety and depression. Analysis completed at the testing stage for the approach found a 30 per cent reduction in ambulance service call outs over a 12 month period. Preliminary findings regarding A&E admissions during the current phase of service delivery has reported a similar reduction.
From an initial adoption by three CCGs – West Lancashire, East Lancashire and Greater Preston, Chorley and South Ribble - STEADY On! has since been adopted by Lancashire North CCG and Fylde and Wyre CCG.
“Suffering a fall can be traumatic, causing serious injury and disrupting lives. The funding from the Innovation Agency will be used in technology to assess the risk of falls and frailty of those attending education sessions in the community; and developing falls prevention plans across more than 40 residential homes, which will help more than 500 people.”
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council Director of Public Health
“STEADY On! is proving very successful with our residents. The team’s enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly in providing guidance on how to stay safe in the home and outside. The approach is reassuring for those at risk and feedback has been immensely positive.”
Jane Kitchen, Urgent Care Commissioner, Greater Preston, Chorley and South Ribble CCG
“The fear of falling is terrifying. But I now have a way of getting upright if I’ve fallen and know I’ve a service I can turn to. I learned more in an hour that I thought possible and feel less anxious and much more contented.”
STEADY On! is an evidence-based approach founded on key fall factors: Slippers, feet and footwear; Tablets and medication; Environment and lighting; Activity and exercise; the question Do you fall? eYesight and vision.