Summary of report content
In 2019, the public voted for the topic of ‘Prevention’. Following consultation with the local public health team, Healthwatch Hertfordshire asked if there was a particular area of health prevention that they would like more public opinion on. From this, Falls Prevention & Social Isolation was highlighted as a specific area to focus on. They created a survey to which 172 people responded.
A high proportion of people in the over 65 age bracket are worried to some degree of falling and the implications of what that would mean. Although falls are reported to be happening at home and in the community, there is a higher percentage that occur at home.
There are lots of services available to help members of the community in the prevention of falls, but a lot of services are not known by the public until they experience a fall (and even then people may not be aware of the all the services available to help them). This highlighted the need for more promotion and awareness of services at the prevention stage.
Healthwatch also spoke to the community falls prevention service who outlined how they support people who have had a fall or people may be worried about a fall. Of all the people that get a referral to the service, there is approximately a 50 % uptake. This highlights a need for the public to have more awareness on this subject and what can be put in place to help them, for example, things to be placed in their home and eliminating things that increase the risk of a fall occurring.
The report contains seven recommendations about better promotion of home safety checks and other services that could prevent falls, development of a simple self-assessment of hazards in the home and garden, better awareness around medication that protects your bones, promote exercises and online information and targeting people with dementia who are socially isolated and at further risk of falls.