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“A ¾ million investment by NHS Somerset into lifting equipment in care homes and through our community services for patients at home,  will help avoid patients having to wait hours for an ambulance and going into hospital when they have a fall, during the busy winter months”. Says Bernie Marden’s NHS Somerset’s Chief Medical Officer

Due to unprecedented demand on ambulance services both nationally and regionally, last year many people who had fallen at home or in care homes waited many hours for an ambulance crew to arrive. Many of these patients didn’t necessarily need to go into hospital but just needed help to be lifted off the floor.

Lying on the floor for long periods following a fall, is not only distressing for the patient and their families/carers,  but for those who are older/frail; complications can set in —for example, pressure sores, shock, dehydration, and hypothermia.

We want to make sure, we minimise the chances of this happening. As part of our Somerset Urgent Community Response Service, (which we have been rolling out since April),  we have invested over ¾ million into lifting equipment; to enable community response teams to respond to people who have fallen at home or in care homes.

We have also introduced a training scheme for care home staff in how to safely lift residents who have fallen, so they can be lifted off the floor as quickly as possible in the event of a fall.

Karen Cheshire, Grovelands Residential Home manager says

“The safety and wellbeing of our residents is always our primary concern at Grovelands. Whilst we do everything possible to minimise the risk of falls, the nature of older care combined with the health conditions which our residents live with, means that we can never entirely remove this risk for them. What we can do, however, is put in place additional measures to minimise the impact that a fall can have on the individual.

“Whilst serious injury from falls is thankfully a rarity, it’s important not to overlook the emotional impact of experiencing a fall, particularly for our residents who live with dementia.

“Working with the Somerset Urgent Community Response Team, we now have more advanced lifting equipment at our disposal to help any residents who experience a fall to get back on their feet, removing the stress and embarrassment they may associate with struggling to get up or an ambulance needing to be called to assist them. Lessening the emotional impact of a fall, reducing the burden on emergency services and empowering our care teams to lift individuals safely, effectively and with dignity, this new lifting aid will transform the support available to those who need it. 

NHS Somerset would like to see every care home in Somerset have lifting equipment (and be trained in how to use it) to help their residents when they have a fall.

A handful of care homes already have lifting equipment that has been provided by NHS Somerset. This new initiative will see 88 additional care homes in Somerset receive lifting equipment and training from November and we expect more care homes (there are 213 CQC registered care homes in Somerset) to come on board.

Our Somerset Urgent Community Response Service provides a two-hour response time for people when they have had a fall at home and can often treat people at home/in their care home avoiding them having to go into hospital

Through these teams, older people, adults with complex health needs and others who urgently need care, can get fast access to a range of health and social care professionals. This includes access to nurses,  physiotherapists, other allied health professionals and onward referral to other health and social care services where needed.