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National award for Lancashire falls service

Lancashire County Council has won a national award for the service it funds to prevent people being injured in falls.

The scheme, called Steady On, won the Preventing Avoidable Harms category at the 2016 Patient Safety awards last week.

Steady On is delivered in partnership with the NHS. It has been running in East Lancashire since 2012, and was introduced across the rest of the county in June this year.

The scheme provides specific workshops to raise awareness of fall risk factors and how to prevent them; one-to-one home visits for people at higher risk, and advice and information at community events.

County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “People aren’t always aware of how traumatic falls can be. They can cause serious injuries and massive disruption to people’s lives. They may need to stay in hospital and deal with the loss of confidence falls can lead to.

“Falls will continue to be a major concern. By 2030 the number of people aged 65 years and over predicted to have a fall is projected to increase by 40%, so we need to do all we can to prevent them.

“The Steady On scheme is an important part of our plans to ensure people stay fit and well and continue to live independently in their own home for as long as possible.

“We identify people who may be at risk of being injured by a fall and run group sessions providing practical advice that will help them, and the people who care for them, to ensure their home is safe.

“For those who have already had a fall or are more likely to fall, we will organise a home visit where a trained health professional can assess hazards and put people in touch with local organisations that will help with measures such as minor adaptations, eye tests and helping people be physically active.”

The Patient Safety Awards were presented in Manchester earlier this month. There were over 650 submissions for the awards, with 170 making the final stage. Judges then selected 18 winners.

Alastair McLellan, editor of the Health Service Journal; and Jenni Middleton, editor of Nursing Times, said: “The Patient Safety Awards continue to recognise and reward outstanding practice within the NHS and independent healthcare organisations.

“Now in their 8th year, the awards received a high number of outstanding quality entries into our 18 diverse categories.

“Each of the winners have demonstrated excellence in their particular field of expertise at a time when budgets and other constraints have made it harder than ever to provide safe, effective care.

“They have fought off strong competition to win, and we salute their well-deserved success, which in most cases represents many years of dedication and hard work.”

When commenting on Lancashire County Council’s entry, the judges said: “Fantastic multiagency approach countywide.

“Superb first level intervention – co designed and co- produced with patients and families.

“Excellent example of the power of sharing data.”

The awards are organised by the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times. This year’s sponsors were Healthcare at Home, Macmillan Cancer Support, Patient Safety Collaboratives AHSN Network and Ridouts.

Details about the award, including a full list of winners, are available at www.patientsafetycongress.co.uk/awards.

For more information about the county council’s fall prevention work, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/health.

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