by Toni-Michelle Lee, Moray Falls Lead Officer
Well it’s been a busy week for me as Falls Officer in Moray (luckily not with actual falls) and for the last while I’ve been gearing up to this moment! Around three months ago I was asked to try and find a solution for picking up the uninjured fallers across Moray and implement a pathway. Without any extra staff resource and a small budget for equipment, this was no easy task.
We all suffer falls occasionally but as we get older we are more likely to have a fall. An 85-year-old is five times more likely to have a fall than a 65-year-old. Many falls, particularly among older people, result in the likes of hip fractures. Following a fall, many people often fear it will happen again and this leads to a loss of confidence which limits their daily activities and therefore threatens their independence. When I was first in post, I preached to all who would listen “Falls is everyone’s responsibility”….with this in mind, I set to work. I thought about the health professionals who were already out there, out in people’s homes, out in the community, out with fallers. Those on the ground who are identifying and picking up uninjured fallers on a daily basis – it’s the sheltered housing wardens, the OT’s, the home carers, the district nurses to name but a few. If these personnel had access to falls equipment, they could assist with picking clients up on a more official basis, couldn’t they? Many do already….
My next thought was to the falls equipment itself, I started attending equipment demonstrations and seminars and although there was lots of efficient equipment I thought fit the bill, I didn’t see exactly what I was looking for – that is, until I saw the “Raizer”. If you have haven’t already seen it, I recommend going on line and having a look – simple but completely effective. It was exactly what I’d been looking for, with full battery charge it does up to 100 lifts, maximum weight is 23.5 stone, quiet and quick – it can be built around the faller but the biggest plus for me is it comes with a remote control, so only one responder is needed. http://www.yorkshirecareequipment.com/moving-handling/fall-lift-assists/raizer-emergency-lifting-chair
I bought seven Raizers in total, with the thought that each of the community hospitals across Moray could house one. Being that Moray is so geographically dispersed, the hospitals are the ideal locations. They have 24 hour, 7 day a week access and there is one in each locality. This way, the ground staffs are able to leave the faller, pick up the equipment and re-attend the faller which would be far quicker than paramedic attendance, not to mention the inefficiency of an emergency service being used for non-injury and surely a positive influence on the negative impact experienced by fallers. Shared responsibility by all means a better service for clients and a lesser impact on staff within the community care teams.
After months of many meetings, composing equipment policies, falls policies, training, speaking to all stakeholders involved and obtaining the buy-in needed from staff – we are ready to go! Raizer training is being held over 4 days for anyone and everyone within the realms of community care and I personally will be dropping off the equipment to every community hospital within Moray this week – exciting times.
I am not saying this pathway will be seemless and without flaws, and it does depend upon the buy-in and contribution of all staff but that’s exactly what community care in Moray is all about – providing an efficient, effective and positive service that promotes independent living – after all….”Falls is EVERYONES’S responsibility”.