6) Social Care -Isolation & falls

Health & Care issues

At Cara Community Services we recognise the need to set up and seek funding for new and innovative services which help address critical health and social care issues in order to respond to rising needs, reduce costs and maximise resources.

Research shows that 1 in 10 people have no close relatives or friends to turn to in case of an emergency ; In the past 15 years, the number of people aged 55-64 who are living alone has increased by 50% ; £2.5 billion = the estimated annual cost to the NHS due to sub-standard housing

Foremost among above is the critical issues of loneliness & Isolation which in  older age is a serious public health issue with substantial costs and increases the risk of dementia, high blood pressure (HBP) and depression. The costs to society arise as those experiencing loneliness are more likely to use A & E or use medication. GP `s have identified between 1in 5 patients come to them because of loneliness. Professor Keith Willetss.NHS England Director of Acute Care cited a study showing 45% of patients over 75 admitted to A& E said they were socially isolated. Age UK states more than 2 Million people over 75 live alone and 1Million say they go a Month without speaking to a neighbour, friend or family member. The Campaign to End loneliness recent research shows that lacking social connections is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and worse than obesity and physical inactivity. It estimates that nearly 2.5M people over 60 would not know where to get help. As social isolation occurs for a number of reasons such as having decreased mobility, leaving work, family deaths or disability or illness etc the solutions are equally diverse.

One of the many consequences of loneliness and isolation is the outcomes which arise from above. with enormous costs to the NHS and Care services. In the UK one in three over 65`s have a fall each year with 1.2 Million ending up in A & E after a fall costing the NHS £1.6 B. Research by Professor Karen Middleton (www.maturetimes.co.ukJan 2016 page 6) analysed the misconceptions about falls and argues: Lack of information on fall prevention. A saga survey of 9,521 people aged between 50-79 found every age group significantly underestimated the risk of falling. This was attributed to bone loss from 30`s onwards. Falls can be prevented. Exercise can improve strength and balance whilst information can improve fall-proof in homes (www.csp.org.uk/publications/get -go-guide-staying-steady. Physiotherapy can assist. It can deliver specialist assessments and re-ablement alongside evidence based exercise, education and advice programmes that prevent falls, improve balance, and promote active an healthy lifestyles. Group exercise programmes have major impacts. Research shows this can reduce falls by 29% and risk of falling by 15% whilst individual programmes by 32% and 22% respectively. One example is Westminster Falls Service which offers risk assessments and targeted prevention. Clients followed up a year post discharge showed a 60% reduction in falls, 55% fewer fractures, 92% fewer A & E admissions and 80% fewer GP appointments to previous year.

So if you would like us to provide a tailor made package for your community group or organisation or arrange specific training or simply discuss the issues please contact us. Our discussions are free and as always confidential. Please contact John Brennan on 01803852270 or email john@caracommunity.co.uk.