Fall related injuries in older people are a major public health challenge and an unnecessary cause of ill health and mortality. It is estimated that one in every three people over the age of 65 years and one in two people over the age of 80 years fall every year. Staff had identified that there was a lack of awareness that falls could be prevented and action wasn’t taken until after a fall had occurred. The role of exercise was often overlooked and although staff could identify who was unsteady on their feet they were not aware that this could be improved through specific exercises to improve strength and balance.
It is important to look for underlying reasons why people fall and if these are preventable. We know that falls record the highest total length of stay for all admissions and can result in a fracture with the associated loss of confidence and lengthy rehabilitation. Many older people have a ‘community alarm’ and use this to call for help when they have fallen with immediate support provided through the Social Care Response Service (SCRS). Information relating to the call out is gathered by the service and logged, however the information is not shared and other than GP/Emergency service referrals, there is no pathway from the service to falls clinics, etc.
The Vintage High Teas programme aims to provide access to nutritional meals and fresh healthy fruit and vegetables through the provision of an alternative service which is complimentary to the current lunch clubs provision in the area giving older adults the opportunity of choice. The programme also aims to provide additional support to older adults with higher support needs to access and participate in activities in familiar community facilities.
Lunch Clubs and activities currently exist in North Lanarkshire but this project gave local older adults the opportunity to have a choice in the types and timings of when these meals / clubs were on offer. The VHT programme also included a number of activities and also links to other local organisations to allow people who used the provision to have the choice to be part of other things.