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Falls and Syncope Service

The Falls and syncope service provides specialist assessment, advice and treatment to patients in clinics and in their own home environment to identify and minimise falls risk.

About the service

The service provides specialist assessment, advice, and treatment to patients in clinics and in their own home environment to identify and minimise falls risk.

The ‘Falls and Syncope Service is a multi-disciplinary team providing a service to residents who are registered with a Gateshead GP’. Out of area referrals are seen through the Choose and Book service via the GP. 

The team consist of:

  • Doctors
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Specialist Nurses
  • Physiotherapist
  • Technical Instructors

This innovative staffing model reflects the complex needs of the patients who use the service. 

Nurse: 

  • Provides a specialist assessment in either a hospital-based clinic or in the person’s home. 
  • This includes assessment of blood pressure and ECG (heart tracing), with ongoing management to minimise the risk of further falls and/or management of symptoms of dizziness and light-headedness. 

Occupational Therapist: 

  • Provides specialist assessment to identify problems related to difficulty with activities of daily living (ADL) and with confidence or anxiety following a fall or falls. 
  • Following the assessment, the therapist will work with the individual to develop a treatment programme. 
  • The Occupational Therapist can order appropriate equipment to maximise the individual’s level of independence and can also liaise with the Occupational Therapy service in Gateshead Council for appropriate specialist equipment or adaptations which may be required.

Physiotherapist

  • Provides specialist assessment to identify problems related to difficulty with walking, vestibular dysfunction, strength, and balance. 
  • Following the assessment delivers individual or group exercise programmes to improve and maintain balance, ordering of assisted devices to maximise patients’ level of independence. 

Technical Instructor: 

  • Provides support to the Specialist Team across three disciplines, carrying out Exercise programmes, providing equipment and confidence building strategies also using portable BP and ECG machines and Phlebotomy. 

Doctors: 

  • The medical team (comprised of two consultants and a Specialist Doctor), provide a hospital-based clinic service augmented by phone clinics where appropriate. 
  • They conduct specialist examinations and investigations to establish any underlying medical causes for falls and syncope (fainting/passing out). 

Every patient is then given a specialist and comprehensive falls assessment which may take place either at their own home or in the outpatient clinic setting. 

Following this assessment patients are then discussed in the falls and syncope multi-disciplinary team weekly meeting where a treatment plan is then agreed upon. 

A treatment plan can include:

  • the involvement of one or more disciplines of the specialist team
  • this may include an individual or group exercise programme to improve and maintain balance,
  • ordering of assisted devices to maximise the patient’s level of independence
  • ongoing rehabilitation in the community to maximise independence
  • interventions to reduce fear of falling,
  • tilt table testing and specialist examination ordered to establish any cause for the falls/syncope,
  • Medical investigations which may include 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, 
  • 24-hour ECG monitoring, 
  • Investigations into dizziness
  • This may include dix-hall pike testing and if required treatment with Epley’s manoeuvre; CT or MRI head/neck scans.

Service opening hours

The service is available Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.

How to contact the service

Telephone 0191 445 3843