The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has produced a series of practical statements to help the NHS tackle falls, one of the major causes of disability or death in older people.
Around 30% of people over the age of 75 in England will have at least one fall each year, rising to 50% for those aged 80 or above, according to NICE. About 5% of these incidents will require either treatment for a fracture or a hospital stay.
“The falls standard brings together gold standard practice”
A new NICE quality standard for assessing older people after a fall and preventing further falls, published today, aims to support hospitals and community services to help improve the quality of life of older people and reduce the number of fall-related injuries.
The standard advises that older people who are living in the community and have a known history of recurrent falls are referred for strength and balance training.
It also said healthcare professionals should carry out a risk assessment for any pensioner who visits hospital because of a fall.
Those who need to stay in hospital should be offered a “home hazard assessment” and any necessary help to prevent further incidences before they leave.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “The standards contain practical statements to help health and social care providers, practitioners and commissioners assess and improve the quality of care they deliver in key areas.
“They highlight the need for the health and social care sectors to work together where possible to ensure people receive the best quality care,” she said.
Adam Gordon, honorary secretary of the British Geriatrics Society and a consultant geriatrician in Nottingham, said: “The falls standard brings together gold standard practice in how to manage older people following falls and, by giving it the NICE seal of approval, ensures that it will be delivered in hospital and community settings around the country.”