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Put your best foot forward

19 June 2013

Patients in central Bedfordshire are finding out that falling isn’t an inevitable of part getting older, nor is going to hospital as a result of a fall.

Members from the urgent homecare and falls response service  have been visiting GP practices across central Bedfordshire to celebrate Falls Awareness Week (17-23 June). This year’s theme is healthy feet, so there is plenty of advice on offer about exercises to strengthen ankles and feet, footwear and how to keep your feet in tip top condition.

Falls response worker, Sally Davis is using the GP practice visits to raise awareness of both the service and the how easy it is to treat often neglected feet.

She said: “Most falls are preventable. Often simple things make a big difference to someone’s mobility. People will grab what’s nearest (not necessarily what's most secure) to help themselves up; we’ve found a radiator half off the wall in the past.”

The purpose of the falls service is to provide effective support, enabling older people to remain living independently following a fall. The service started in January 2013 and is jointly funded by Bedfordshire CCG and Central Bedfordshire Council.

What happens?

If someone slips at home and an ambulance attends, paramedics will do an assessment. If they deem hospital treatment unnecessary but perhaps the patient needs more support, the paramedic will contact the falls team.

“Our goal is to keep people out of hospital whenever possible, but it’s important that we visit the person who has fallen as soon as possible to see what equipment is needed. The most common thing we do is remove rugs and clutter but we also provide walking frames, toilet raisers or hand rails,” said Sally.

Best foot forward

  • exercises – try picking up marbles with your toes.
  • footwear – choose something with a slip resistant sole.
  • foot care – keep feet moisturised and toe nails clipped.

More information about these tips and much more can be found in free guides produced by Age UK.

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