Two councils in South London have been awarded a grant by NHS Digital and the Local Government Association to work on a new project that aims to reduce falls among elderly people living at home.
Southwall and Lambeth councils have partnered with Safe Steps, the creator of a digital falls risk assessment tool, to support health and social care teams when making in-home visits.
The tool is currently used in care homes after a successful pilot in the Northwest, where it reduced falls incidents by 28% across 102 establishments.
The two councils will now work with Safe Steps to develop a community version of the app.
A ‘carer’s companion’ app is also planned for development to allow carers to access action plans to support risk management.
The project is part of the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme funded by NHS Digital and managed by the Local Government Association. It supports the adult social care sector to use digital technology to respond to challenges in local areas.
Cllr Jasmine Ali, cabinet member for Children, Schools and Adult Care, said: “The partnership with Safe Steps shows how local government can use innovations in technology to find solutions to serious challenges in adult care.
“The risk assessments and action plans we produce through joint working will have a real impact on people in Southwark; both the over-65s and those who may care for them. We’re looking at offering preventive measures that will not only keep older people healthier and safe at home, we’re looking at saving costs and reducing strains on local NHS services.”
In England, falls account for half of all accident-related hospital admissions amongst older people. Serious falls can result in hip fractures and other debilitating conditions.
Data from the Office of National Statistics also found a 70% increase in people dying as a result of a fall between 2010 and 2017.
James Chapman, co-founder and Managing Director of Safe Steps said: “The partnership opportunity with these two large local authorities in South London aligns strongly with our longer term objective to transition from using the Safe Steps app solely in residential or care home settings, and develop a fit-for-purpose, innovative solution for use by people who most need this sort of assistance.
“We want to reduce the incidents of falls for older people to support them in continuing to live as independently as possible in their own homes or in sheltered accommodation. We welcome being part of this initiative using smart tech to keep older members of our communities safer at home.”