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Sweet smell of success

01 July 2013

A man from central Bedfordshire has achieved a personal goal with the help of the Falls Response Service, funded by Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Central Bedfordshire Council.

Patients have been sharing their experience of the service, which started in January 2013, during Falls Awareness Week (17-23 June). The multi-skilled team of 14 provide support to enable the elderly to stay independent in their home after a fall.

David Maberley from Houghton Regis had part of his right leg amputated four years ago and was visited by the falls team after he slipped out of bed. The assessment suggested simply adding rails to David’s bed, while making sure that he had the right walking sticks and frame to get about.

He said: “I went into the garden last week for the first time in three years, which boosted my confidence. I sat and planted tomatoes and lettuce. It gave me a kick.

“I wasn’t hurt I just needed help to get back into bed, as my wife had been told not to move me. Paramedics need permission to contact the falls team, who are really good. I think you recover better at home.”

What happens?

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

Falls response worker, Sally Davis believes that most falls are preventable and that it’s often the small things that make a big difference to someone’s mobility. She said: “People will grab what’s nearest (not necessarily the most secure) to help themselves up; we’ve found a radiator half off the wall on one home visit.

“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.

Healthy feet is the theme for this year’s Falls Awareness Week, 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.

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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