Resident physiotherapists can greatly reduce risk and cost of falls in care homes

Resident physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals in care homes can help ensure that older people get a well-rounded care plan, giving them access to all the services they need in one place.

Preventing falls in elderly people is a significant problem for people working in a care home. Although measures are taken to reduce the risk of falls, old and frail residents can still experience them.

‘The Right Medicine – Improving Care in Care Homes’ report from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society makes a number of recommendations about how services can be improved to better support elderly people.

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On average, residents in care homes fall between two and six times a year, the document states. However, the good news is that interventions designed to prevent falls have been shown to be highly effective at reducing the risk.

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists can be a key part of care home services, allowing residents to remain as independent as possible, while also reducing the risk of a person falling and injuring themselves.

In its report, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society recommends that each resident is given a falls assessment when they are first taken into a care home. These initial findings should then be followed up by regular check-ups to see whether anything changes that may affect the risk of each individual suffering a fall.

According to the document, an increased risk of falls has been linked to polypharmacy – where a person is taking more than one type of medicine.

It also suggests that every care home should have a pharmacist on hand who has responsibility over medicines. This could save the NHS around £135 million a year by allowing these professionals to conduct regular medicine reviews, the report states.

Better communication and sharing of clinical information between GPs, pharmacists and other care providers could also help improve patient safety, it adds.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) published the ‘Cost of Falls’ to highlight the key role physios have in reducing the amount of falls, making major savings for the NHS.

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