NHS Wales: Falls Project Avoids 50 Needless Ambulance Callouts



NHS Wales: Falls project avoids 50 needless ambulance callouts

A new scheme to help people who have suffered falls has prevented 50 ambulances being unnecessarily sent this year.

St John Ambulance Cymru works with Hywel Dda health board, Pembrokeshire to send its people for 999 calls.

Sandra Davies, whose husband Teifion fell at home, said it was “marvellous” as he did not want to go to hospital.

The pilot has been used 96 times since January but it needs more health board funding to continue after March.

Ageing Well in Wales estimates that between 230,000 and 460,000 over 60s fall each year.

When people dial 999, it can be directed to the St John Ambulance Cymru falls response team, who are sent to perform an assessment and identify whether the person can stay home or needs an ambulance to take them to hospital.

St John Ambulance Cymru operational team leader Robert James said in 60% of cases, the person was well enough to stay at home.

“You can imagine if you were sending an ambulance crew out and it has wasted 60% of the crew’s time, well it’s a big saving towards the NHS and the ambulance service in itself,” he added.

“Provided there are no injuries, or reason for them to go to hospital, they can be discharged on the scene.”

The “falls” car has covered 2,200 miles (about 3,540km) since January and includes equipment to lift people safely.Janice John, a St John Ambulance Cymru falls assistant, used the specialist gear to help lift Mr Davies, who has dementia, after he fell while walking to the bathroom at his home in Haverfordwest. “We checked him over and there were no obvious injuries,” she said.

“We used a slide sheet to get him into position from where he was, as he was in an awkward position and we then used a lifting device called a Mangar Camel was used to get him of the floor.”Following these checks, he did not need to go to hospital.

Mrs Davies said: “I think it’s marvellous because I couldn’t lift him myself. I used to but I can’t do it anymore.

“He’s got Alzheimer’s and dementia so he doesn’t understand half the time, what you are telling him, so I’ve found it very handy having people like the St John Ambulance coming out. He doesn’t want to go into hospital.”

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In 2022, the Welsh Ambulance Service received approximately 55,000 calls nationally relating to falls, 38,000 of which required a physical attendance on scene.

Jessica Svetz, who works for the health board, said anyone waiting more than an hour – an increasing issue as ambulance waiting times get worse – “have to be conveyed to hospital which might mean they have to be admitted”.

“Having St John Ambulance [Cymru] arrive early improves their outcome tremendously,” she said.

Source – BBC News




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