Why is it an issue?
The risk of an accidental fall increases rapidly with age, and higher levels are evident in people living alone, people with existing medical conditions, and people living in more deprived areas. Older housing stock compounds the risk as highlighted by the inclusion of four falls hazards in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System inspection criteria.
What is the position in Devon?
In Devon the number of people aged 65 and over suffering at least one fall in the last 12 months is predicted to increase from 46,700 in 2011 to 74,500 in 2030. Around 7,000 hospital admissions relate to accidental falls in Devon, costing the NHS over £18 million per year, and contributing to increased social care costs and reduced mobility.
What is the evidence of effective interventions?
Falls prevention involves interventions intended to reduce falls and fall-related harm. Evidence identifies four main objectives: improving patient outcomes and improve efficiency of care after hip fractures; responding to a first fracture and prevent the second; early intervention to restore independence; and preventing frailty, promoting bone health and reducing accidents. Post-menopausal women with a previous or new fracture are a priority group. These women make up only 14% of the population of older women but account for 50% of hip fractures. Falls hazards can be mitigated through inspection and improvement of housing stock.