Emergency falls team contending national award

Thursday, 09 May, 2013

Unique scheme for Northamptonshire wins more praise

A Northamptonshire service which treats people who have suffered a fall and helps them to avoid another accident has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Crisis Response Falls Team is a joint service from East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) and Northamptonshire County Council.

It is a finalist in this years British Medical Journal (BMJ) Groups Improving Health Awards, in the Emergency Medicine Team of the Year category and has been shortlisted for the Patient Safety in Primary Care and Patient Safety in Elderly Care categories in the 2013 Patient Safety Awards.

The service was launched in 2011 to respond to the fact that falls at home, especially those involving frail older people, account for a large proportion of EMAS calls.

Nationally, around 30 per cent of adults who are over 65 and living at home will experience at least one fall a year. This rises to 50 per cent of adults over 80 who are either at home or in residential care[1">.

EMAS worked with Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) to design a bespoke service which both gives these patients a better experience and helps them avoid future falls.

It also recognises that although distressing, most falls are not life-threatening and by dedicating resources to helping these patients we can ensure other crews are free to deal with emergencies.

The Crisis Response Falls Team have all developed extra skills in treating patients who have fallen. EMAS also invested in two specialist falls ambulances with lifting equipment to aid patients.

To date the service has helped more than 700 patients, allowed more people to be treated in their comfort of their home and reduced repeat falls.

The team work closely with Northamptonshire County Council and the local NHS Community Elderly Care Service to ensure patients are signposted to services to help them reduce fall hazards, as well as health services which can support them to stay in their own home.

In 2012 the service delivered a 5 per cent reduction in repeat falls when compared to 2011.

Peter Mason,Service Improvement and Innovation Manager for EMAS, said: We are delighted the service has been shortlisted for more prestigious awards.

The team help us respond to falls more quickly and offer appropriate treatment closer to home. They also help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

Falls can be very unsettling, especially for older people. This service offers quality care, often in the comfort of a patients own home and links them to services which will help them avoid future falls and stay independent for as long as possible.

Councillor Robin Brown from Northamptonshire County Council, said: It's great news that the excellent work being carried out by The Crisis Response Service has been shortlisted for another award.

This scheme has made a real difference, especially to vulnerable older people who prefer to remain independent and safe in their own homes after a fall, rather than having the stress of going to hospital unnecessarily.

Earlier this year, the Crisis Response Falls Team was announced as the winner of the Early Intervention and Prevention category of the Laing and Buisson Independent Specialist Care Awards.

In 2012 the service won a national Patient Safety Award and a Specialist Care Award and was also shortlisted for the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times Awards.

Return to news menu