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Falls Assessment – Not missing the opportunity

Kathryn Hodgson, Clinical Lead for the Falls Team within South Tees, discusses how the revised falls strategy can help prevent falls with some simple but effective advice.  

As the clinical lead for the Falls Team within South Tees I spend every day of my working life helping people who have fallen. These people may be falling for many different reasons and each need a different mix of treatment to help reduce their falls and get back their confidence.

One key theme is there has often been a missed opportunity, perhaps after a first fall which has knocked the person’s confidence, an episode of illness which has left the person feeling weaker or a new feeling of dizziness which has gone un-investigated. These people have probably had contact with their GP, a physiotherapist, a volunteer at a voluntary sector organisation or a pharmacist. Each of these could have been an opportunity for support and falls assessment. At this stage the advice may be simple; advice on suitable footwear; an exercise programme to build strength; arranging an eye test. Making these simple changes at this stage can have a massive impact on building confidence and reducing the risk of future falls. However, if the opportunity to assess falls risk is missed, the opportunity to reduce falls is also missed.

The revised falls strategy is all about not missing that opportunity. It’s about everybody having the training and tools available to them to support older people, in the way that is right for them, to reduce their falls risk and improve their confidence, keep them safe and independent. Whether it’s a pharmacist providing a link to the online self assessment tool, the volunteer at the voluntary sector agency supporting an older person to complete the tool, the physiotherapist or GP completing a Tier 2 assessment with them and implementing the exercise programme or medication change; each member of staff can take the opportunity to reduce that persons falls risk.

As a falls team we will always be there for those patients who have had this support and are still falling but if you do come into contact with any other staff member and are worried about your risk of falls please talk to them about it and ask them to assist you with a falls assessment.

If you want to try out the self assessment on this website the link is at the top of the page. Don’t miss that opportunity!