A MOBILE service has been set up to respond quickly when people fall in a bid to save trips to hospital for elderly and frail people.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), has seen success with its 'falls and frailty' van service - and even expanded its service with another van on July 14.

The mobile initiative enables patients to be treated at home and avoid a trip to the emergency department.

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Consisting of a specialist paramedic and a frailty specialist clinician, staff are deployed with specialist equipment in ‘frailty cars’ to treat patients who have fallen or are experiencing frailty symptoms, in their own homes.

Andover Advertiser: Staff members of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and South-Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), and Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the Hampshire falls and frailty van launch with. July 14

Naomi Purdie, consultant nurse in frailty at Southern Health Foundation Trust said: “The most important thing is patient safety and that means the quickest response and the most appropriate care.

"This service is delivering healthcare closer to home and improving healthcare for older people in an integrated way, through cross organisational working. The patients think it is part of the service from the ambulance – so don’t recognise it as anything other than a response from the ambulance service at first, which is great as it demonstrates it’s a seamless service.”

The service has won acclaim and has even been shortlisted for a National Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Award for improving care for older people.

Andover Advertiser: Hampshire falls and frailty van

It was initially set up to provide falls and frailty care to many elderly patients who were shielding from Covid-19 and going to hospital was too risky to their health.

But the service has now seen more than 1,000 patients within their homes since November 2020.

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Approximately 79 per cent of these patients didn’t need a hospital following home-based treatment and follow up appointments from the urgent community response teams.

John Lloyd, team leader, specialist paramedic from SCAS said: “The frailty car can be dispatched in a number of ways, via the 999 call centre, 111 call centre, referrals from GPs and we are averaging around 5 visits a day.

"Not only is this service ensuring that the patient receives the best care without the need to attend hospital, it is alleviating pressure on emergency departments, providing safer care for those at higher risk of catching Covid, but who were also at risk of falling and becoming immobile.”

Hannah Munns, frailty matron at Basingstoke hospital, added: “The key to its success is excellent liaison between clinicians from community, emergency and acute services, so if a patient does need to be admitted it is as smooth and co-ordinated as possible. We are so proud of this service – working together to deliver high quality care in the right environment for our patient.”

Andover Advertiser: Hampshire falls and frailty van

Cheryl Davies, senior programme manager at Wessex AHSN, said: “In working with Southern Health, SCAS and HHFT to develop this innovative service for people living with frailty, we realised there was no standard approach to delivering an urgent community frailty response in other regions. We’ve developed an interactive toolkit built on real-life insight and best practice approaches to replicate this model across the country and support our health services to provide safe personalised care.”

The winners of the National Patient Safety award will be announced in September.

For more on the awards go to: awards.patientsafetycongress.co.uk/.

The frailty car can be dispatched in a number of ways, via the 999 call centre, 111 call centre and referrals from GPs.

To access the urgent community frailty response service toolkit visit: wessexahsn.org.uk/projects/437/urgent-community-frailty-response-service-toolkit.

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