Arrange a follow-up home visit after a stay in hospital
If your loved one had a stay in hospital after a recent fall, then a follow-up home visit by a specialist may be arranged. If this hasn't been organised by the hospital, then you can make your own arrangements. There are two ways you can do this.
Contact the NHS Trust operating in your loved one's area
NHS Trusts have dedicated falls prevention teams, tasked with the specific aim of reducing falls among older people.
The teams exist in recognition that:
falls present a serious risk to the health and wellbeing of older people
hospitals come under great demand as a result of these incidents.
After a fall, you can contact the relevant local authority and ask to speak to their falls prevention team about organising an assessment.
The resources within each trust are different and falls prevention teams may often be required to work on a priority basis, with 'frequent fallers' (a recurrent faller with a history of three or more falls per year) or those seen to be at the greatest risk of becoming frequent fallers, given the highest priority. For this reason, you should never assume that the NHS is able to send a falls prevention specialist to see the person you’re supporting after they have had a fall.
You should also be aware that NHS falls prevention services may vary from region to region in terms of their strategies, resources, priorities and workload.
Again, it’s not guaranteed that the NHS will be able to send someone to visit and perform an assessment, but you have every right to speak to them and ask what help they can provide.
Engage the service of a private healthcare professional
The best step to take is to make sure that the person you’re caring for is seen by a healthcare professional, such as an occupational therapist or physiotherapist, who has experience in falls prevention. Be aware that if you’re hiring a healthcare professional privately, it will be your responsibility to pay for their services.
This professional will carry out an assessment – both of the person and of their environment (home) – to understand the potential risks and the underlying causes of a repeat fall. They can then advise on the right next steps and, where possible, deliver solutions.
If your loved one was admitted to hospital following a fall and has since been discharged, the hospital should have arranged a care plan that could include a visit from a falls prevention professional. However, be aware that this type of aftercare is not always provided by the NHS. If the situation seems unclear, you should speak to the hospital and ask for clarification.
What other steps can be taken to help reduce the risk of a fall?
Many falls in older people happen for reasons that may be ‘avoidable’; for example, loose carpets or rugs that present a trip hazard or insufficient lighting on a stairway. By carrying out a few simple checks, you may be able help the person you’re looking after make their home safer. For more information, read common causes and reducing the risks of falls.
We provide a checklist of simple tips to help reduce the risk of falls in the home.
Find advice on stairlifts, wheelchair lifts, hand rails and walking sticks, and avoiding common hazards on stairways.
If your loved one has a fall or is taken to A&E, read our advice on what will happen and how to get the best care.