Best foot forward for fallers

New services to support North East fallers

North East healthcare providers are putting their best foot forward to reduce the impact of falls on elderly people.

In partnership with Newcastle and Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group and Gateshead CBC and Newcastle community teams, North East Ambulance Service is developing an holistic care package and rapid response service for patients who fall.

The exciting new service will consist of a multi-disciplinary team in which paramedics, occupational therapists and physiotherapists will work together to provide a timely response and deliver care to older patients who have fallen, thereby reducing the need for a hospital admission and prevent future falls.  The search has begun for three qualified paramedics in the region to support patients who have fallen in the North East.

Falls and related injuries are a significant concern for older people.  Thirty percent of people over 65, and 50 percent of people over 80 have at least one fall in a year.  One fall in twenty leads to hospital admission and one in ten causes significant injury. 

Advanced practice and pathway development manager at NEAS, Dan Haworth explains, “We know that a fall is the fourth most common reason for people requesting an ambulance and we have been working in partnership across the North East to provide a better experience for those patients who have fallen without injury. 

“A dedicated multi-skilled crew like this will be able to support many patients back on their feet without the need for a NEAS emergency care crew.  This will increase our ambulances’ availability to attend life threatening calls, whilst still having a direct link back to a dispatch clinician to arrange for back-up, where necessary and give those patients a better experience.”

NEAS also supports three Alternative Response Teams (ART) for patients who have fallen in North Tyneside, North Tees and Hartlepool and County Durham.  Falls schemes are designed to give patients who have fallen without injury an early response and reduce the number of injuries caused by offering advice and assessments for people who have recently fallen, or who are at risk of falling.

The new recruits will respond to 999 callers who have fallen within the Newcastle and Gateshead area seven days a week between 8am and 6pm, working from Gateshead ambulance station on a rapid response vehicle.  They will be expected to provide both an initial response to patients as well as being a point of secondary referral for NEAS crews already on scene.

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