Falls resulting hip fractures cost the NHS and social care a staggering £2 billion pounds a year. Understandably there has been much emphasis in trying to find a solution. The latest in falls prevention are falls protection devices. We discuss what they are and whether they really are the answer.
The benefits of fall detection tech
The purpose of fall detection technology is to alert loved ones or emergency services, in the event that the person who has fallen is unable to, so that they can receive timely treatment. The devices have in built sensors which are designed to monitor the movements of the wearer and using accelerometers, determine if they have fallen. There are other types of falls sensors as well, such as those used in care homes i.e. falls mats. The accuracy of these devices, however, is questionable.
So What’s the Problem?
The devices have been known to give out false readings, causing unnecessary worry and stress for both the individual and the loved one. The sensors are also incorrectly triggered if the device is dropped, which in an older person who has dexterity issues, can be a frequent occurrence. There have also been incidences where the person wearing the device has fallen, but the technology has not categorised the event as a fall for example when someone has fallen into another person. As technology advances, it is likely that solutions such as falls detection devices will improve and become smarter, but given the inconsistencies, there are questions over whether they can be relied on protect older people, giving them and their loved ones, peace of mind.
And what’s the solution?
Despite these strategies, the Better at Home report released by the Live In Care Hub (www.liveincarehub.co.uk) found that there were almost one third fewer falls for people receiving live in care versus those in receipt of care from a residential and nursing home. A live in carer supports the person in their own home 24/7, allowing them to provide person centred care that is flexible to the individuals and any changing circumstances. Falls can happen for any number of reasons. One of the most common is if the person is unwell and suffering from an infection. A live in carer would notice if there were changes to their patients’ health and be able to change the care plan accordingly. Furthermore, if the patient is not feeling well, they immediately have someone to talk to and report their symptoms, rather than for this to be discovered once they have fallen.
Key to falls prevention is staying physically active. A live in carer can support the patient to undertake physical activity both inside and outside the home, helping to strengthen bones and improve balance. Research by the live in care hub found that a third of people in residential homes and just over half in nursing homes never left their home.
There is opportunity for both the financial and psychological impact of falls to be reduced with live in care.
This post has been sponsored by Ditto Digital
Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.