THE NUMBER of elderly people suffering from injuries caused by falling could be reduced by up to 30 per cent over the next few years through a new action plan.
A report by NHS Fife claims since the launch of the strategy, it has successfully reduced the number of hip fractures over the past five years.
And to continue the downward trend, the report highlights the need for specialist fall and bone health services in the NHS and Fife Council to work together.
Councillor Andrew Rodger, chairman of the health and social care partnership, said: “I am very impressed with the scope and range of activities that have been implemented to prevent and manage falls in a relatively short period of time. I would like to congratulate the staff in the NHS and Fife Council for the tremendously positive results achieved over the last five years.
“Older people at risk of falling are now better served and better protected than ever and it is even more encouraging to note there is a strong trend towards injuries continuing to fall and prevention rising.”
The action plan includes the ‘Falls Pathway for Fife’ - a process identifying those at risk and taking preventative action - and a toolkit for preventing and managing falls and fractures is available.
John McKendrick, co-ordinator of Fife Elderly Forum, said the members have seen the benefits of the initiative as it has developed.
He said: “A fall not only causes physical injury, but it can have a devastating effect on someone’s confidence and mental health.
“Being able to identify those at risk and the preventative action greatly benefits the individual and decreases the pressure on the health and social care services.”
As part of the strategy the Fife Falls Response Service - consisting of both NHS and Council professionals - was set-up, providing immediate responses when a fall is reported.
Telecare services and round the clock monitoring and emergency alarms, allow people to live at home safely and ‘falls awareness’ events promote the importance of footwear, eyesight and exercise.
Falls are the most common cause of the elderly being admitted to care homes and the reason for most call-outs to the Scottish Ambulance Service.