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New service helps reduce waiting times for people who have fallen at home across Lancashire

28 September 2020

Press release from Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS)

The integrated home response and falls lifting service was set up in October 2019 to provide a non-emergency visiting response with home responders to help residents in Lancashire who have fallen in their own homes.

One third of adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, but most falls do not result in serious injury. People who fall over at home and are unable to get up from the floor themselves - but have no other injuries – are now being referred to this service when they or a family member, carer, neighbour or friend call 999 or 111. Referrals are also made if the two council’s telecare services (Progress Housing Association and Vitaline) identify people require lifting by a home responder or a home response for a wellbeing check.

Since the service began, over 14,500 visits have been made (with more than 7,500 of those related to falls). This has resulted in more than 6,000 lifts being completed (as of 31 August 2020).                                 

The service:

  • quickly responds to help people up and ensures they are comfortable
  • is staffed by fully trained professionals who check those who have fallen for any injuries, and use the appropriate equipment
  • calls an ambulance or alerts other services when needed.

Talib Yaseen, Executive Director of Transformation for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said:

“The excellent results already being seen over the last 11 months from this new falls lifting service is just one example of the partnership working happening across the county to make a real difference to the lives of residents across Lancashire. The organisations involved are already looking at how this can be expanded further to provide support to even more people who fall in their own homes.”

The service has helped to relieve pressure on the ambulance service, freeing it to attend more critical calls, by reducing the number of ambulance call outs and the potential need for a patient to be taken to an emergency department or be admitted to hospital. The average waiting time for someone needing this lifting service is just under 26 minutes, much lower than a non-urgent ambulance call out.

One lady (Mrs C), who called an ambulance after her husband (Mr C) fell in their living room, was really pleased with the service they received. Mr C was assessed by an emergency home responder from Progress Lifeline who arrived on the scene after the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) triaged the call and ascertained that he was unable to get up, even with Mrs C’s help, but was uninjured. When they arrived, they used a specialist lifting chair called a 'Raizer chair' to securely lift him from off the floor.

Once Mr C was comfortable, the responder called the NWAS clinical hub to confirm they had lifted Mr C and update them on his wellbeing. The responder left the couple with a leaflet, providing information on avoiding future falls and sent a referral to the local falls prevention service.

Mrs C said, “The lady that came was absolutely brilliant to me and my husband; she was very easy to talk to and was just lovely. The equipment is marvellous and the whole experience was lovely.”

Partner organisations across the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) are working together to increase the number of referrals the service receives directly from emergency services and other routes (including care homes), and also working with other locally run services to help prevent future falls for individuals.

The service is commissioned and funded by a health and social care partnership of NHS and Local Authorities including the eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the area, Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council, and provided by Progress Housing Association and Vitaline.