Queensland-first trial aims to keep at-risk patients at home
Metro North is delivering an innovative new Falls Community Referral Pathway trial to reduce the rate of falls and fall injuries for the elderly aged over 65 in their homes.
The Community and Oral Health directorate is joining forces with the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and Brisbane North PHN to tackle the issue.
Each month, the Queensland Ambulance Services is seeing approximately 1,200 callouts in Metro North area for falls and related incidents for people aged over 65.
This equates to around 40 falls a day across the whole of Metro North, many of which could potentially be avoided if the necessary community-based supports were in place.
QAS Acting Director of Operations for Metro North region Michelle Holsworth said many patients don’t require transport to hospital but may fall again within the month.
“Along with things like chest pain and respiratory distress cases, falls are some of our most common incidents, so we saw a need to find a solution to prevent repeat patients,” she said.
Brisbane North PHN Deputy CEO Libby Dunstan said around half the patients who fall at home are currently not taking advantage of free PHN or Metro North community-based services offered.
The Falls Community Referral pathway trial, which has begun in the Chermside area, aims to investigate and address the increasing number of falls in the home, while reducing the access barriers to community-based support and care for the elderly.
Community and Oral Health Nursing Director Mary Wheeldon said elderly people who fell at home often do not recognise or acknowledge the future risk of a further fall and therefore do not always accept the option to seek or receive further help.
“Some of the reasons for not accessing the available care include the person feeling that they had adequate family support or there were plans in place to visit and discuss with a GP in future,” she said.
The trial is targeting adults who would potentially be transported by the QAS to The Prince Charles Hospital for assessment and care, and who have experienced a fall at home and are aged over 65 years.
The trial will continue over the next six months and will be rolled out further if successful.