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Home care staff preventing emergency hospital admissions

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Home care provider Home Instead Senior Care Exeter & East Devon helped South West Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) deal with increasing pressure on their services from falls related calls.

Waiting times for an ambulance for non-injury falls in the South West can be over 4-5 hours. During this time, frail older people can experience other health issues not directly caused by the fall. Examples include pressure sores and hypothermia.

Home Instead was keen to find ways to support SWAST in reducing hospitalisations from falls. But it lacked the training, processes and equipment to put in place changes in its operating procedures. SWAST shared its traffic light system and post falls assessment guidance with Home Instead. They adapted these for home care workers. In 2017, SWAST also developed a training programme for Home Instead and home care workers.

Home Instead implemented training for the new traffic light system in early 2017. All caregivers were trained in the new falls assessment processes. They received written instructions on how to assess the Red, Amber and Green categories. These helped them determine when to call an ambulance. And as part of a non-injury related assessment, they can decide if it's safe to assist the client up from the floor.

By implementing the traffic light system, caregivers no longer report every fall as an emergency. This has reduced the number of calls to SWAST - relieving pressure on the ambulance service.

The positive relationship between the organisations developed further in October 2017. The agency’s Registered Manager and Care Manager visited a SWAST service. They saw a demonstration of the Raizer Chair. This lifting device assists caregivers when helping people up off the floor.

Home Instead saw value in this. It could support their home care workers to help non-injury clients up from the floor. They would give this help in a timely and dignified manner.


Home Instead bought a Raizer Chair and the ambulance service trained staff how to use it. Between December 2018 and April 2019, the agency’s home care workers used the chair more than 30 times. The vast majority of these clients were not hospitalised. This eased pressure on the emergency services.

Last updated:
26 June 2019


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