Patients are in safe hands with the Falls Rapid Response Team

Posted on Tue, 02/07/2019 by Philippa Ellison-Rothwell

Around one in three adults over the age of 65 will have at least one fall a year and about half of these will have more than one fall in the same 12 month period.

Falls can have a number of debilitating outcomes including decreased mobility and functional ability, loss of confidence, social isolation, and a multitude of possible injuries.

In September 2018, a new Falls Rapid Response Service (FRRS) was commissioned for the residents of Gateshead and Newcastle in an exciting new 12 month pilot project to respond to those over the age of 60 who have had a fall within their own home.

The first of its kind in the North East, the team consists of three occupational therapists (Joanna Donnelly, Philippa Ellison-Rothwell and Tripta Rathour) working alongside three paramedics (Matt Curtis, Nikki Main and Dave Puddy) from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

Philippa Ellison-Rothwell explains more about how the team is making a difference to patients:

“Our referrals come direct from 999/111 and we aim to respond in a 30 minute time-frame, reducing the expected waiting time of an ambulance response.  

During a routine emergency visit, our paramedic colleagues complete a number of medical assessments to ensure that the patient is medically safe to remain at home. If the patient has been unable to get up from the floor we would then aim to assist them using one of our specialist pieces of moving and handling equipment.

The consequences of a fall on an older person include: pain, loss of confidence, difficulty with mobility and loss of independence.  It is often for these reasons that many patients are admitted to hospital.

As a Falls Rapid Response occupational therapist, the multifactorial falls risk assessments allow us to identify the areas in which our patients are having most difficulty. We have a number of referral pathways available to us ensuring that these patients are able to safely remain at home, prevent future falls and avoid unnecessary visits to A&E.

A referral to urgent domiciliary carers, provision of a new mobility aid or referral to Strength and Balance exercise classes may allow an individual to remain independent and confident within their own home. These referral pathways are not available to the standard ambulance crews who, until September last year, would have been responding to all of the falls patients within our area.

Prior to the service being set up, around 65% of patients within Gateshead and Newcastle were admitted to hospital following a fall. Now the figures are the opposite, allowing approximately 65% of the patients that we visit to remain at home.

“The psychological trauma of falling can lead to social isolation and fear. This joint multidisciplinary team can reduce this by providing immediate care and support and help give patients back their confidence.”

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link.
Accept Cookies