What matters to the individual needs to be at the centre of joined-up care, HIW review of falls amongst older people finds

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) has found that there needs to be a shift in culture led by the everyday behaviours of everyone involved in falls prevention and care to achieve the person-centred care that puts what matters to the individual first.

The finding comes from a national review of the integrated pathway of care for falls amongst people over 65 in Wales: Review of Integrated Care - Focus on Falls. The falls pathway is the term given to the route through all the services that someone who is at risk of falling, or has already fallen, may take.

Falls are a common problem for older people, with 1 in 3 people over 65 likely to suffer a fall in the next 12 months. That number rises to 1 in 2 in those over 80.

Falls can lead to serious physical and psychological consequences for the older person and treatment and reablement are costly.

HIW found that services could work better together to prevent falls amongst older people and to treat and re-able them following a fall.

The report makes eight key recommendations and highlights learning for both staff working with older people who are at risk of suffering a fall, and for health and social care managers.

It recommends that there should be a national falls framework for Wales, to standardise the approach to preventing, treating and re-abling older people who are at risk of falling or have already fallen.

It also recommends that each health board should work closely with local authorities in their area to produce a local pathway for falls that can be flexible to the needs of the individual whilst also being consistent with a national framework.

Stuart Fitzgerald, Director of Strategy and Engagement at Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, said:

Falls are everybody’s business. Falls affect many older people and better communication about services and what can be done to prevent falls coupled with more co-ordinated treatment and reablement, will lead to better outcomes and sustained quality of life for older people who fall.

Time and again, our review findings reflect that focussing with what matters to patients is important in helping to improve outcomes

We found examples of excellent practice, but too often care varies between different areas and a lack of co-ordination and communication between health, social care and voluntary services can be a barrier to delivering the best quality care.

Our review highlighted examples of good practice as well as other aspects of services which could be improved upon. Staff and decision makers within the health and social care sectors will want to consider how the themes in the review could impact upon the services they provide.

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