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Southwark Council and Safe Steps Partnership will reduce the risk of falls at home for over-sixty five year olds

21 January 2020

Southwark Council has been awarded a grant by NHS Digital and the Local Government Association to work with health and social care partners including Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Lambeth Council on a project that aims to reduce falls.

The project is part of the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme funded by NHS Digital and managed by the Local Government Association. The programme supports the adult social care sector to use digital technology to respond to challenges in local areas. It is intended to enhance direct practice, improve information sharing and enable integration.

In England, falls account for half of all accident related hospital admissions amongst older people. Serious falls can result in hip fractures and other debilitating conditions. Falls can also add to complications in other complex health conditions.  Research has shown falls in the elderly have previously cost the NHS £2bn annually with this figure expected to rise significantly in line with an ageing population.

Safe Steps has developed an app which offers both a risk assessment and an action planning tool. Care homes currently use the app. Results from the pilot, trialled in northwest England  show a 28 per cent reduction of incidents of falls amongst residents in 102 establishments. With this promising start, Southwark Council and partners will work with Safe Steps to develop a community version of the app.

It’s planned that Safe Steps’ new app will support health and social care teams when making in-home visits. As well as risk assessments and action planning, a ‘carer’s companion’ app is also planned for development. This will allow designated carers to access action plans and support risk management.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Adult Care, said: “The partnership with Safe Steps shows how local government can use innovations in technology to find solutions to serious challenges in adult care. The risk assessments and action plans we produce through joint working will have a real impact on people in Southwark; both the over-65s and those who may care for them. We’re looking at offering preventive measures that will not only keep older people healthier and safe at home, we’re looking at saving costs and reducing strains on local NHS services.  We hope the model will be implemented in more local authorities to benefit older people who need this vital support.”

James Chapman, Co-founder and Managing Director of Safe Steps Limited said:  “The partnership opportunity with these two large local authorities in south London aligns strongly with our longer term objective to transition from using the Safe Steps app solely in residential or care home settings, and develop a fit-for-purpose, innovative solution for use by  people who most need this sort of assistance. We want to reduce the incidents of falls for older people to support them in continuing to live as independently as possible in their own homes or in sheltered accommodation. We welcome being part of this initiative using smart tech to keep older members of our communities safer at home.”

Page last updated: 21 January 2020