GPs Asked to Take Two Minutes: Falls Awareness Week

Care & Repair Cymru, Age Cymru and Age Connects have again joined forces to promote Falls Awareness Week, which takes place between 18 to 22 February. It aims to reduce the risks of falling, led by a conversation, self-assessment and advice.

Neil Williams from Care & Repair Cymru who Chairs the National Prudent Healthcare Falls Prevention Taskforce said: “This year we are asking Primary Care professionals, particularly GP surgeries, to take two minutes to talk to their older patients about their risk of falling.

“Falls cost the NHS £2.3bn every year and an older person dies in the UK every five hours from a fall at home. In many instances, the risks associated with falls can be lowered by some very simple, low cost changes to our behaviour.

“Falls are not an inevitable consequence of growing older. There are many simple actions we can all take to prevent a fall and if you are worried about falling talk to someone about your concerns.”

Case study

This is what Mavis (84yrs) who lives alone told us after having a fall in her garden last year.

“Living alone when you get to my age means a lot of worrying about how you are going to manage, especially when you have nobody to assist you through all the changes that come with getting older.

“When I had a fall in my garden last year, I was stranded on the cold floor outside for five hours before my neighbour found me and called for an ambulance but believe me it felt like a lifetime.

“While I was in hospital receiving treatment, a hospital to home caseworker from Care & Repair came to visit me, and straight away organised to meet my daughter at home the next morning to install a grab rail and Telecare system for me. It meant I could be discharged sooner than would normally be expected.”

“Once I was home, the caseworker visited me again to complete a full assessment and get a thorough understanding of what I needed to help me carry on living independently and safely at home.

“They were so thorough and checked things I wouldn’t have even considered. They even conducted a full benefit check and found I wasn’t receiving everything I was entitled to so helped me claim Attendance Allowance.

“The steps in my garden, which were the reason I fell in the first place and getting in and out of the bath were particularly troublesome for me. I was also having trouble with my boiler. I was simply amazed by their attention to detail and how thorough they were, taking everything into account. They managed to find grants to help with the cost of a wet room, a new boiler and to fit a handrail to help me with my steps in the garden.

“Without Care & Repair, I would’ve spent a lot more time in the hospital, and when I eventually got home again it would have been a lot more difficult and still unsafe. They really put my mind at ease, so I could focus on getting better.”