Community team referral cuts falls by 50 per cent

Referring patients who suffer a fall to community rehabilitation services halves their chance of further falls, UK researchers have shown.

One in three people aged over 65 suffer from a fall each year (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)
One in three people aged over 65 suffer from a fall each year (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)

People over 60 years old who had recently fallen suffered 55 per cent fewer falls in the following year if immediately referred to a community rehabilitation service, the University of Nottingham study found.

Elderly people's charity Age UK called on the NHS to provide additional funding for falls clinics in light of the study.

Charity director Michelle Mitchell said: 'With one in three people aged over 65 suffering from a fall each year, Age UK welcomes this vital research.

'Services need further funding to be able to follow successful programmes and interventions to the full.'

She added that a greater awareness of falls prevention among older people was 'essential' to ensure they know where to go for help.

The researchers said the findings warranted a further study into potential savings for the NHS from cutting fractures and hospital admissions.

Hip fractures, the most common serious injury from a fall, cost the NHS about £1.7 billion per year, affecting 60,000 people and causing up to 14,000 deaths.

Researchers had identified 204 people over 60 years old who had recently fallen and called emergency services but had not been taken to hospital.

Patients were either referred to a community falls prevention service or given standard care.

Those who attended the rehabilitation service experienced 3.5 falls on average in the following year, compared with 7.7 falls in the control group.

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