July 14, 2023 | Terry Smith

How does HelpFall de-risk falls response?

Falls are a common concern among the elderly and individuals with mobility issues, often resulting in injuries and decreased quality of life. One of the major issues care staff working in care homes and domiciliary care settings face is the challenge of assessing and assisting fallen individuals safely and efficiently.

A lack of necessary tools and training can lead to unnecessary ambulance call-outs, inappropriate care for the faller, and poor outcomes from falls.

HelpFall, the digital post-falls decision-making and reporting tool, addresses these challenges by supporting care staff in assessing falls and guiding them to make informed decisions on whether to lift or assist individuals using safe manual handling techniques and equipment.

What is HelpFall?

HelpFall is the digital post-fall decision-making and reporting tool that supports care staff to safely assess a person who has fallen and helps them decide whether to lift or assist them from the floor using safe manual handling techniques and equipment.

HelpFall uses a traffic light system to categorise the fall and suggest what actions care staff should take based on their answers and is based on the South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust Post Fall Assessment Checklist (🡥).

Care homes and ICBs are increasingly implementing post-fall decision-making tools such as HelpFall, along with training, to care homes and care organisations, to empower and upskill staff to assess and respond to falls confidently, without having to call for an ambulance. 

How does HelpFall de-risk falls response?

 

Guarantees the appropriate response for each patient

At the heart of HelpFall lies a traffic light system, which categorises falls based on their severity and suggests the most appropriate action for the faller. This visual system helps care staff quickly determine the level of risk associated with a fall and guarantees the appropriate response for each patient. 

  • Red Category – Major Injury: When a fall is categorised as red, it indicates a major injury. In such cases, HelpFall advises care staff not to lift the fallen individual and instead call an ambulance promptly. This immediate response ensures that individuals receive timely medical attention, reducing the risk of further complications.
  • Amber Category – Minor Injury: Falls falling into the amber category suggests a minor injury. Although ambulance assistance is not necessary, the fallen individual still requires some medical attention. HelpFall will suggest that care home staff or an Urgent Community Response Team can attend to the person, providing the necessary assistance and support, before lifting them off the floor. By avoiding unnecessary ambulance call-outs, HelpFall ensures the best possible outcome for the fallen person and helps prioritise the allocation of emergency resources where they are truly needed. 
  • Green Category – Uninjured: Falls categorised as green indicate that the fallen individual is uninjured and can be safely lifted. HelpFall guides care staff to use specialist lifting equipment, such as the Raizer Lifting Chair. By enabling care staff to assess the fall accurately, HelpFall minimises the risk of causing further harm during the lifting process.

 

Supports the staff in their decision-making and gives them confidence

HelpFall includes a reporting feature as part of the assessment process. Each time HelpFall is used to assess a fallen person, an incident report is generated and sent to the care home. This report can be shared with the care home’s Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), allowing them to determine appropriate follow-up care for the individual.

As well as improving collaboration between care homes and MDTs, the reporting function of HelpFall gives care home staff confidence that they have done the right thing for the patient, and gives them a report that they can refer back to if needed. 

Related case study: How HelpFall Is Transforming Post Falls Management In Care Homes | The SNEE ICB Story

 

Reduces the risk of long lies and associated complications

By guaranteeing the most appropriate response for each patient, HelpFall reduces the risk of the patient waiting on the floor for an extended period of time for an ambulance, reducing the risk of fallers experiencing long lie falls. 

Traditional falls assessment tools are typically risk-averse and very black-and-white in the guidance they give, often advising the user to call 999 when any form of injury is present. For example, if a person has fallen and suffered a minor cut to the arm, traditional tools would tell the responder to call 999. In reality, these ‘minor injury’ falls can usually be treated within the care home or by an Urgent Community Response Team, and HelpFall has been built to reflect this and only revert to calling 999 for major injury falls. 

Related article: What Is A Long Lie Fall? Causes, Impact, and Prevention

 

Is HelpFall proven?

HelpFall has been implemented by multiple NHS Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) across the country and is currently being used by Care Homes, Dom Care organisations, and rapid response teams, to name just a few.

Recently, Suffolk and North East Essex (SNEE) ICB implemented HelpFall in care homes in their area, which has empowered and upskilled care home staff to safely assess and respond to falls.

As a result, SNEE has witnessed significant improvements to the outcomes of falls in care homes, with an 84% reduction in ambulance call-outs to care homes and the percentage of non-abnormality conveyances dropping from 27% to 0%.

You can read more about the SNEE ICB project here. 

 


 

Related articles

Why are slow responses to falls in care homes dangerous?

Top 4 barriers to care homes responding to falls, with solutions

Falls: a community response | 3 key takeaways from the NHS ConfedExpo speech

 


 

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Author

Terry Smith

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