Edinburgh health chiefs recruit ‘fall guys’ to prevent elderly falling over

The fall coordinators will help fewer elderly people being admitted to hospital
The fall coordinators will help fewer elderly people being admitted to hospital
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Health chiefs have recruited two staff to deal with the issue of elderly people falling over as part of their response to a damning watchdog report that slammed care services.

The “Falls Coordinators” have been given two areas of the Capital each and will focus on prevention of falls through things like risk assessment and training for care home staff.

The aim is to avoid people being taken to hospital through improved training, responses and referrals by the ambulance service.

In May, a report by the Care Inspectorate exposed a string of failings in the care of elderly people which noted that Edinburgh’s performance in falls resulting in hospital admissions was below the national average.

The watchdog found that referrals often noted just one fall, when in fact the fall could have been one of multiple incidents over a number of months.

It also raised concerns over the quality of information provided to it and criticised the lack of risk assessment plans in case records for older people who had a documented history of falls.

Green Health and Social Care spokesperson Cllr Melanie Main said: “It’s clear that there is a lot that can be done to prevent falls which lead older people to end up in hospital.

“Two new staff may add capacity but it is what they do that matters.

“The proof of the pudding will be in whether there is a real reduction in the number of falls in Edinburgh.”

The Care Inspectorate also noted that information about plans to manage and reduce the risk of falls was not routinely shared with either the older people themselves or their carers, nor with staff in other services with responsibility for supporting the older person.

Shadow Health Secretary, Miles Briggs, said: “It is right that the health and social care partnership is seeking to implement the recommendations of the Care Inspectorate and I hope that the recruitment of two Falls Coordinators will make a real difference and ensure that all staff members have the knowledge and information required to provide the best advice to service users and their families about reducing the risk of falls.”

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said: “The Falls Coordinators will drive the implementation of the Falls programme, which focuses on prevention – from bone health to risk assessment.

“They will provide specialist advice and support to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders including partnership teams, care homes, housing and carers and service users and third sector organisations.”