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Project in the West Midlands hopes to prevent risk of falling

25th June 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A project in the West Midlands has identified that a broad spectrum of interventions are necessary to ensure that people who choose to live independently at home are fully supported in terms of the risk of falling.

The Health Design & Technology Institute at Coventry University were the main facilitators of the project and were partnered by the West Midlands Region Telehealthcare Network and Warwickshire PCT. Funding was provided by NHS West Midlands, and the overall aim of the project was to evaluate the use of fall detectors in the area during 2011. The project included the use of focus groups, the study of the personal experiences of 20 people issued with fall detectors and also used data collected from existing sources about users and the range of fall detectors used across the West Midlands.

Fall detection is just one way in which those with mobility difficulties can find support at home, but other preventative measures, such as using indoor stairlifts, can help prevent falls from happening in the first place. The study concludes that the adoption of a variety of assistive technology is likely to be the most useful approach to dealing with the issue of falls in most cases, supporting people with both preventative measures and response services in the event of an actual fall.

The study acknowledged that there is a lack of knowledge concerning the use of fall detectors, and that increasing both public and practitioner awareness could see more people across the West Midlands and the UK in general adopt the use of fall detectors. As a result, a leaflet promoting the use of fall prevention technology and a good practice guide are set for development, along with a series of videos and digital media portraying various case studies.

A smartphone app about fall prevention is also planned to be developed, containing advice on fall prevention that is suitable for both carers and those who have mobility difficulties but want to support themselves at home. It is hoped that low level technology measures such as these will help people limit their risk of falling whilst living independently at home, complementing the use of other technology designed to reduce the risk of falling, such as accessible baths.

More information on the project can be found here, including a link to the full report. Further work is planned as a result of the publication of the project, keeping the issue of independent living and preventative measures highlighted in the eyes of the NHS.

Image Credit: Minnesota Historical Society (flickr.com)