New initiative which helps older people could save NHS Lothian £150,000 a year

TWO frail pensioners who fell in their homes last week received help within minutes thanks to new state-of-the-art alarms.

The pair were among the first to be given the new neck pendant alarm connected direct to support staff under a joint city council and NHS Lothian scheme.

In one case, a 90-year-old man from the east of the city landed on his kitchen floor last Wednesday, but within 15 minutes carers arrived to bring him to his feet.

The previous day, a woman, aged 92, from the north-west, fell on her living room floor, also activating a neck alarm, allowing staff to arrive quickly to check her over.

It comes as the Telecare Falls Project is being rolled out across the city, introducing electronic detectors in properties where residents are known to be at risk.

The £120,000 initiative will help around 300 people over the next year.

Councillor Paul Edie, health and social care convener, said: “A fall can shake people’s confidence and leave them isolated. They become worried about leaving their home for routine trips to the shops or even moving too far from the safety of a particular room.

“If we can rebuild their self-belief then they can literally rebuild their lives and grasp back their independence.”

The detectors are linked to a 24/7 mobile support team which will respond to a fall within minutes, potentially saving NHS Lothian £150,000 and 1,000 hospital bed days a year.

Every year across the UK, falls account for 10 per cent of acute hospital admissions, resulting in NHS spending of £1.7 billion and 70,000 fractured hips.

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