July 12, 2023 | Terry Smith

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

How big of a problem are falls in care homes?

Falls are a massive problem for care homes across the UK. There are approximately 400,000 care home residents in the UK, and care home residents are three times more likely to fall than people living independently in their own homes. That equates to a rate of 1.5 falls per care home bed per year.

The main reason for this is simply that residents of care homes are more likely to be physically frail, compared to those living independently, meaning they are at a greater risk of falling. 

If the appropriate training, procedures, and tools are lacking, a fall can leave a care home paralysed, with the only option being to call emergency services. This has a negative impact on the patient, the care home, and ultimately the whole system.

Top 4 barriers to care homes responding to falls

Now, let’s dig into the top 4 most common barriers that prevent care homes from responding to falls. 

Lack of education & training

If a care home or the care home staff are hesitant or unsure of what to do if a resident has fallen, it mostly comes down to a lack of education and training around falls and the risks of responding immediately vs waiting for an ambulance response. 

This lack of education can lead to care home staff being reticent to move or lift fallen residents and defaulting to calling an ambulance, through fear of causing further harm to the resident. 

In reality, for the majority of minor and non-injury falls, if the faller was to be assessed and lifted quickly in the community, the outcome for them would be significantly better than if they were to be left on the floor, waiting hours for an ambulance. 

Lack of confidence in post-fall decision-making

Similarly, if care home staff lack the appropriate training on how to assess whether a faller is safe to lift from the faller, they are likely to revert to calling 999 to avoid any risk. If care home staff were trained in how to conduct post-falls assessments, the outcomes of falls in care homes would greatly improve. 

There are also a number of post-fall assessment tools that support decision-making and remove the risk and uncertainty associated with falls response, including the likes of ISTUMBLE and HelpFall

Related article: The Best Post-Falls Assessment Tools For Care Homes In 2023

Lack of appropriate lifting equipment

A lack of appropriate falls lifting equipment in care homes is another common reason for care homes defaulting to calling an ambulance to attend falls. 

Care home organisations and NHS ICBs are increasingly implementing falls lifting equipment such as Raizer lifting chairs into care homes, which is enabling care homes to respond to falls safely and quickly, with no intervention from the emergency services. 

Related article: The Best Falls Lifting Equipment for Care Homes in 2023

No-lifting policies

Safeguarding policies and procedures in care homes around fallen persons can also mean care staff are hesitant to lift fallen residents from the floor, leading to them calling the ambulance when not always necessary. 

Again, this problem comes down to a lack of education around falls; such policies don’t reflect recent guidance on falls and will most likely result in poorer outcomes for fallers when compared to the care home responding to falls themselves.



Related articles

Why are slow responses to falls in care homes dangerous?

How HelpFall Is Transforming Post Falls Management In Care Homes | The SNEE ICB Story

How Mid and South Essex Health Care Partnership have Reduced Ambulance Callouts to Care Homes by 69%



Get in touch

Got a question or want to send us a message? Let’s talk.



Terry Smith

Back to Blog