What was the issue you were addressing or working on?
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.
What you did?
Training resources for falls prevention were developed in Argyll and Bute to raise awareness of modifiable falls risk factors with all staff working with older people. The training for care staff supporting older people at home was developed in partnership with independent sector providers.
- Educational tools were developed to encourage interaction during training as this facilitates learning. Scottish Care, NHS Highland and Argyll and Bute Council staff and the national falls programme manager were consulted in developing the training.
- There are two resources – one for staff caring for people in their own homes and one on multifactorial screening for falls risks and onward referral to evidence based interventions. Printed workbooks are provided for both training sessions for staff to be able to reference the information as required.
- Training is delivered in face to face sessions by physiotherapists across Argyll and Bute to independent sector carers, care home staff, Health and Social Care Support Workers and Health and Social Care staff on a rolling programme. This embeds the approach and learning locally. Costs of developing and delivering the training and costs of the printed resources are covered by the Change Fund.
What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?
- In NHS Highland multifactorial screening to identify modifiable falls risk to reduce falls is part of the community falls prevention pathway. Community based interventions can lead to reductions of 30% reduction in falls however consistency and equity in delivery of such interventions is a key factor.
- Implementing screening for modifiable falls risks and the provision of evidence based interventions will result in a consistent approach to reduce falls in those at high risk across the Highland area. Previous work has indicated that the evidence base for prevention of falls was not well understood. Training and educational needs were identified for staff and other agencies who would be carrying out Multifactorial Falls Risk Screening and working with older people at high risk of falls. Independent sector providers also identified training needs around falls and have been involved in the development for training to address modifiable falls risk and support of evidence based balance and strength exercises (individually prescribed by a physiotherapist).
- Through Reshaping Care for Older People development, funding and face to face delivery of the training has been possible in each locality in Argyll and Bute.
A key learning point is that attendance is enhanced when the Team Leader for Older People who is responsible for commissioning services liaises directly with independent care providers and requests their full support.
Contacts - to find out more
Christine McArthur, Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org 01700501549