Hampshire Health Services shortlisted for award for falls and fragility vans that reduce pressure on emergency services

A MOBILE service has been set up to intervene quickly in the event of a fall in order to avoid trips to the hospital for the elderly and frail.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), has seen success with its ‘falls and frailty’ van service – and has even expanded its service with another van on July 14.

The mobile initiative allows patients to be cared for at home and avoid a trip to the emergency room.

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Comprised of a specialist paramedic and a frailty clinician, staff are deployed with specialist equipment in ‘frailty cars’ to treat patients who have fallen or show symptoms of frailty, at home.

Naomi Purdie, Frailty Nurse Consultant at the Southern Health Foundation Trust, said: “The most important thing is patient safety and that means the fastest response and the most appropriate care.

“This service provides health care closer to home and improves health care for older people in an integrated way, through cross-organizational work. Patients think it’s part of the ambulance service – so don’t not recognize as anything other than a response from the ambulance service at the start, which is great as it demonstrates that this is a seamless service.

The service has won acclaim and was even shortlisted for a National Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Award for improving care for the elderly.

Hampshire Chronicle: Hampshire Falls and Fragility Van

It was originally set up to provide fall and frailty care to many elderly patients who were shielding themselves from Covid-19 and going to hospital was too risky for their health.

But the service has now seen more than 1,000 patients in their homes since November 2020.

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About 79% of these patients did not require hospitalization after home treatment and follow-up appointments with community emergency response teams.

John Lloyd, Team Leader, Specialist Paramedic at SCAS, said: ‘The fragility car can be dispatched in a number of ways, via the 999 call centre, the 111 call centre, GP referrals and us average about 5 visits per day.

“Not only does this service ensure that the patient receives the best care without having to travel to hospital, but it eases pressure on emergency services, provides safer care for those most at risk of catching Covid , but who were also at risk of falling and becoming immobile”.

Hannah Munns, frailty nurse at Basingstoke Hospital, added: “Key to her success is excellent liaison between community, emergency and acute service clinicians, so if a patient needs to be admitted, it’s as smooth and coordinated as it gets. We are so proud of this service – working together to provide high quality care in the right environment for our patient.

Hampshire Chronicle: Hampshire Falls and Fragility Van

Cheryl Davies, Senior Program Manager at Wessex AHSN, said: “Working with Southern Health, SCAS and HHFT to develop this innovative service for people living with frailty, we realized there was no standard approach to providing urgent response to community fragility in other regions . We have developed an interactive toolkit based on real-world knowledge and best practice approaches to replicate this model across the country and support our health services to deliver safe personalized care.

The winners of the National Patient Safety Award will be announced in September.

To learn more about the rewards, visit: price.patientsafetycongress.co.uk/.

And to access the Community Frailty Crisis Response Service toolkit, visit: wessexahsn.org.uk/projects/437/urgent-community-frailty-response-service-toolkit.

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Lillian L. Pena