New project cuts elderly falls

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AN INNOVATIVE new project is helping to cut the number of falls among elderly residents at local care homes.

Homes in Bourne, Market Deeping and Crowland are already benefiting from the Lincolnshire Community Health Services (LCHS) NHS Trust scheme, which involves a nurse providing training and education to care home staff on areas such as falls prevention, pressure sore awareness and continence support, to improve care.

The project’s success has already been recognised in its first few months and is down to the final three in the Reducing Falls and Falls Injuries category of the national NHS Innovation Challenge Prize. The winner is due to be announced next month.

Kai Brownhill, LCHS lead nurse for education and support for nursing homes, said: “I came up with the idea almost two years ago after talking to someone about the support we gave to the private sector.

“We felt that if we could provide further training and support it could help reduce the number of GP and community nurse visits and prevent avoidable hospital stays.”

After visiting a local care home to research his idea, Kai came up with a training pack, which is used by a “champion” in each home to educate colleagues on best practices.

He added: “We’ve also developed a visual traffic light handover system so if a patient is at risk in any way they will immediately be seen as ‘amber’ by all staff”

At one home the changes have already meant GP visits dropped from 27 one month to 17 the next, a 50 per cent reduction in falls, 66 per cent fewer community nurse visits and a drop in hospital admissions.