Lifestyle     May 25, 2016

Falling Over – The True Cost

Its school holidays and the other day I was running around after my children and suffered the indignity of falling down the stairs. I was OK other than my hurt pride. My kids thought it was quite hilarious. But it got me thinking if it’s that easy falling down the stairs when they are physically fit – how easy it must be for someone who is older in years and less mobile.

Well the statistics don’t lie:

1 in 3 over 65’s and 50% over 80 fall each year
Falling costs the NHS £2 billion every year taking up 4 million bed days.
Coincidently me falling down the stairs happened at around the same time The Kings Fund published an interesting report. They have dissected the figures from the Torbay area and worked out the true cost of someone falling.

Whilst the personal cost of falling is difficult to calculate and is not to be diminished, Torbay’s data helps us see the cost every time someone falls over.

The hospital, community and social care costs were four times that of the cost of hospital admission in the 12 months after falling.
Compared to the 12 months prior to falling the community care costs rose by 160%. The social care and Hospital care costs rose by 37% and 35% respectively.
We discussed the aspect of falls prevention in an earlier blog during falls awareness week. The article highlighted some great tips to help prevent older people falling over. They may seem small things but they are proven to work, so it’s well worth reviewing if you have an elderly relative.

Whilst falling will always be a real danger for older people, by following some simple steps such as making sure they drink water regularly can really help reduce the chances. Many older people forget to drink enough water; they then forget their medication, get confused and sadly fall over.

It’s also worth noting that the longer a person remains on the floor after a fall, the higher the aftercare costs. So we believe that if older people have a careline alarm and are showing signs of being susceptible to falling, replacing their pendant alarm with a fall sensor may be a really good investment.

A fall sensor works in exactly the same way as a pendant with a red button to press if the user feels they require some help. If they fall over the sensor immediately detects this and calls our 24/7 operators without any intervention from the user. The great thing about this is that the operator will know it’s a fall sensor that’s triggered the call and can summon help immediately.

Whilst not preventing a fall, a fall alarm can ultimately help in getting assistance faster, reduce the time the user is left on the floor and hopefully reduces the costs involved in after care.

Fortunately I didn’t need any help when I fell down the stairs, my children were on hand to poke fun and generally make me feel a bit of an idiot!

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