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New project to reduce falls at home

posted 31 Aug 2009, 01:49 by myEdinburgh Admin
An initiative is being launched tomorrow (1 September) which aims to reduce the number of falls by older people in Edinburgh.

The £120,000 Telecare Falls Project will see around 300 people in the Capital benefiting from the new service over the next 12 months.

People at risk, who have had a fall, are given a falls detector which alerts a mobile housing support team who will respond 24/7.

Falls at home can cause not only injury, but also a crisis of confidence. The project aims to build confidence and reduce the fear of further falls. It provides reassurance that, should the worst happen, help is always close at hand.

Anyone who attends accident and emergency or visits their GP following a fall will receive an assessment for the service through this new project.

Councillor Paul Edie, Health and Social Care Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said falls at home can seriously affect people’s lives.

He said: “It can shake their confidence and leave them lonely and isolated. They become worried about leaving their home for routine trips to the shops or even moving too far from the safety of a particular room.

”If we can rebuild their self-belief then they can literally rebuild their lives and grasp back their independence.

“Our Live Well In Later Life strategy is all about helping people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Falls are a major reason for people going into long term care and addressing this issue is a priority for both the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian.”

Lisa Stewart, Falls Co-ordinator for the Edinburgh Community Health Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council’s community alarm team on this project.

“Telecare equipment plays an important part of falls prevention. Falls are not an inevitable part of getting older and many falls can be prevented by using simple techniques such as learning how to improve your balance and staying mobile.”

The effectiveness of the project will be evaluated during the 12 months both for the success of the telecare equipment and the impact the service has on people’s quality of life.

Three examples are given below of incidents the mobile housing support team responded to in the past week.

  • August 26: A 90-year-old man living in east Edinburgh activated his neck pendant alarm after he fell on his kitchen floor at lunchtime and told call centre staff via speaker phone he couldn't get up. Fifteen minutes later the mobile team arrived and after ensuring he wasn’t injured helped him back to his feet.

  • August 25: In north west Edinburgh, a 92-year-old woman who had previously broken her hip, fell in her living room. She activated her neck pendant and staff arrived to check her over and help her.

  • August 25: A 49-year-old epileptic man in south west Edinburgh who has a history of falls relating to his condition collapsed after a seizure. The fall detector in his home detected the incident and staff arrived 11 minutes later to find him on his living room floor. Fortunately his seizure had finished and they were able to help him up.