Whilst it has been widely recognised by patients and health and social care professionals that the trust’s Oxfordshire Falls Prevention Service has been successful we have not, until recently, been able to robustly evidence this.  However, the work of the service can now be benchmarked against national trends in hip fractures.

A fall or injury can have a devastating effect on the older person’s life, leading to personal costs include, fear, isolation, pain, loss of independence, depression and death. Falls cost the NHS more than £2 billion per year  and one in three people aged over 65, and half of those aged over 80, fall at least once a year.

A recent report published by the Nuffield Trust found that national hip fracture rates have remained stable over the last ten years, but the number of fractures has increased by 15.5% due to the dramatic increase in the numbers of very old people.

However in Oxfordshire the overall hip fracture admission rate decreased between the start of the analysis period in 2003/04 and 2009/10 with the results showing a 5% reduction in the standardised rate of 37 admissions per year.

Data collected locally however, suggests a greater effect with a reduction rate in this period of between 16-25% for the population of Oxfordshire.  The reduction rate for care home residents was just over a 30% reduction.

Research carried out by the King’s Fund in Torbay enables us to calculate the overall cost of all fall related injuries to the health and social care system.  The reduction in hip fractures of 37 cases translates to a reduction in costs from fall related injuries of £1.165 million annually to the whole health and social care system.

Two years ago our Oxfordshire Falls Prevention Service was commissioned to follow up older people who had fallen at home, been seen by the ambulance service, but not taken to hospital.  It is known that such people frequently end up in hospital a few days or weeks later and that being seen promptly by a specialist nurse can significantly diminish the chance of admission.

In the last twelve months this work has reduced admissions of this type of incident at home by 17% across Oxfordshire.  This has meant that 288 older people have not been unnecessarily admitted to hospital.

For more information about the Oxfordshire Falls Prevention Service, please click here.