Northamptonshire falls service recognised with national award

EMAS and Northamptonshire County Council's Falls Team

EMAS and Northamptonshire County Council's Falls Team

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A joint initiative from the county council and East Midlands Ambulance Service which treats people who have suffered falls has been given a national award.

The Northamptonshire Crisis Response Team from EMAS and Northamptonshire County Council was announced as the winner of the

‘Patient Safety in Diagnosis’ category of the National Patient Safety Awards, held in London last night.

Designed to prevent unnecessary admission to hospital and to provide support and reassurance to people immediately after a fall, the team was launched in November 2011 and since then nearly 600 people have benefitted from the service.

The Crisis Response Service means local people who have had a fall are attended by a specialist falls ambulance and crew. As well as providing a more appropriate service this frees up ambulance resources to respond to calls from people with life-threatening conditions.

Richard Clayton, Northamptonshire assistant director of operations for EMAS, said: “I am extremely proud of the team for this achievement.

“They have worked hard together to improve the services provided to local people who have suffered a fall and it is good to know that others are looking at the Crisis Response Team as an example of best practice.”

“Having a fall is the top reason why people make a 999 call to EMAS.

“For some this may result in a hospital admission but for many it is unnecessary and they can be safely cared for in their own home.”

The initiative was judged on criteria including how successful it has been, how well it has been managed, and how innovative it was.

The Crisis Repsonse Serivce has a specialist ambulance crew which responds to 999 calls regarding falls in a specialist vehicle with equipment to treat patients that have fallen.

EMAS clinical quality manager and paramedic, Mark Gregory, said: “The Crisis Response Team provides dignity and appropriate care to the patients who have fallen in their home.

“After calling 999 and being identified as a faller without a life-threatening illness or injury, they receive a response from our team in their specialist vehicle.

“The crews attended the University of Northampton and developed skills in the assessment and management of falls, allowing them to provide optimal care for older patients. One of the team members is a qualified paramedic and so if the patient’s condition does worsen they are able to receive further treatment on scene.

“Calls for life-threatening emergencies always take priority for an emergency ambulance response, and so the introduction of the Crisis Response Service means that a faller receives a faster response and spends less time in the position where they fell, avoiding injuries or distress caused as a result of being left for a prolonged period.”

Northamptonshire County Council led the development of this service, and provides care workers who deliver practical support immediately after a fall and a technician to allow the council to install Telecare equipment within 24 hours for people who would benefit from it. This element of the service operates 365 days a year.

Details about the Patient Safety Awards can be found at www.patientsafetyawards.com/home.