Technology to support those at risk of falling: free resource

We have been contacted by Sue Williams, Project Development Manager, ADASS West Midlands, who is keen to promote a free information leaflet about technology to support people at risk of falling, how it can help and how people can obtain it, either through Local Authority Telecare services or self purchase. She is keen for Telehealth & Telecare Aware readers to use it to raise awareness of how technology can play a key role in the support available to people at risk of falling and their families and carers.

She explains that in 2012 it was estimated 800 people fell daily in the West Midlands where fall detectors were an under-used resource. By sending an alert so that someone knows a person has fallen, a fall detector does make a difference to living independently by restoring confidence. And of course if someone does fall, getting help quickly makes a real difference as there is a very strong direct correlation between recovery and how long people lie on the floor after a fall; the speedier the response, the lower the risk of hospital admission, and the shorter the length of hospital stay & subsequent support requirements on discharge. (more…)

Falling in Torbay – a mine of useful information (UK)

The Kings Fund has just produced a detailed analysis of the total health & social care costs for older people admitted to hospital following a fall in Torbay over a 12 month period.  This should be of serious interest to anyone writing business cases for falls-related technology or generally doing any financial calculations in that area. (Torbay has excellent integration of patient/service user records that enables this analysis to be done with great accuracy).

The headline finding is that the total health and social care costs of dealing with older people who have had a fall that they have had to go to hospital for, in the year after that fall, is almost four times the immediate cost of the unplanned hospitalisation after the fall.  Unsurprisingly, for those who die within a year of the fall, total costs are somewhat higher than for those who survive.  Using the Kings Fund’s figures I calculate that the incremental health & social care cost of a fall is just under £7,000 (which includes both the immediate hospitalisation cost and the following years’ costs, less the previous year’s costs). This of course ignores the costs to the individual, their family and community.

Many readers will by now doubtless be wondering whether the costs of falling were reduced for those fallers who were Torbay Lifeline users as conventional wisdom is that the cost is very dependent on the length of time someone remains on the ground before being rescued.  Sad to report that analysis was not done (see comments on the paper – I have requested it). Nevertheless it is a brilliant resource for anyone looking for cost information on this very important topic.