Safe Patient Lifting for Care Homes
Statistics show that while 50% of adults aged over 80 will fall at least once a year (NICE), in care homes this is three times more likely to happen. In 45% of cases, the person who has fallen is uninjured (Cardiff University) but the ambulance service is routinely called to assist with a lift. Elderly falls account for more than 80% of all ambulance call outs (WMAST) and ambulance wait times are on the increase.
If a resident in uninjured, the ambulance service will appropriately categorise the call as ‘green’, which can lead to long delays before a paramedic arrives. Delayed recovery can lead to more serious health impacts for the resident. 20% of fall patients over 65 admitted to hospital have been on the ground an hour or more, (known as a long lie) as a result of this 50% of these patients will die within six months. (Vellas et al)
Increasingly, care homes are reviewing their post fall management moving and handling procedures and introducing lifting equipment to safely lift uninjured fallen residents. Elderly falls happen for a number of different reasons, including neurological conditions such as dementia, and can have a devastating impact if not dealt with quickly. A fear of falling again can lead to inactivity, muscle decline so putting the resident at a higher risk of further falls. However, it is important to perform a health assessment before lifting an elderly resident so we have created ISTUMBLE, an algorithm designed to help carers check for various factors such as trauma, bleeding, breathing difficulties, Stroke etc. Devised with The Ambulance Service, the algorithm will support care home workers make good lifting decisions.