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LIVES launches Falls Response Unit in Lincolnshire with Grantham area couple part of the team

Lincolnshire emergency response charity, LIVES, has officially launched the Falls Response Unit.

LIVES has announced the continuation of the unit after an initial two year trial.

This service ensures that patients who require urgent medical attention, following a 999 call as the result of a fall, receive care from this specialist team.

Fall ranger Nikki Cooke and Coun Patricia Bradwell. (47669050)
Fall ranger Nikki Cooke and Coun Patricia Bradwell. (47669050)

Husband and wife, Simon and Alison Nash, are part of the Falls Response Unit, with Nick working as a full-time responder, while Alison is a bank staff member.

The couple, from Fulbeck, both had careers in the emergency services, with Simon spending 40 years with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, while Alison is a trained nurse.

Simon said: "It’s nice when we get a chance to work together. It's a nice way, in our semi-retirement, to contribute to the community. The two skills combine nicely."

The Falls Response Unit with a celebratory cake. (47669047)
The Falls Response Unit with a celebratory cake. (47669047)

LIVES has been providing the Falls Response Unit for over two years with a team of responders with specialist skill in this area. They will continue to support patients across Lincolnshire with this dedicated service, in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council and NHS Lincolnshire.

In the six months from October 2020 to March 2021 the LIVES Falls Response team attended over 1,100 emergency calls and almost half of these patients were discharged at the scene, allowing them to safely stay at home and relieving pressure on our health care system at a very busy time.

Simon, who has been involved with the falls team right from the concept, said: “[The trial] has proved that we are fulfilling a niche in the emergency market, for people in the community.

“If [someone who has fallen] phones 999, it’s a low category call for the ambulance service, so we step in and technically we are only supposed to attend non-injury calls, however, nearly 50 per cent of the calls that we attend, there’s some underlying injury or illness that caused the person to have the fall and then we are able to do pre-hospital checks on the patient, and put in place the appropriate pathways to assist them.

“It’s nice to feel as though you're somehow contributing to the safety of the community.

“I can see this developing, not only in Lincolnshire, I can see it being further enhanced in Lincolnshire, but I’m sure that it has potential countrywide.

“It’s been nice to have been involved in its conception, and being with the project right through to its commissioning and also now, the purchase of vehicles for us to achieve assistance where people need it."

Nikki Cooke, CEO of LIVES, said of the service: "For many vulnerable members living alone in our community, something as simple as a fall could be the beginning of a horrific ordeal. The LIVES Falls Response Team meets a fundamental need for members of our society, who suffer debilitating effects from a fall at home; to know someone is there.

“We’re on call to get to those low injury, yet potentially life changing events fast. We’re there to ensure our residents are never left alone for a second longer than necessary, following a fall that leaves them incapacitated.”

Chris Cole, head of operations at LIVES, added: "When a frail or vulnerable person falls, their needs potentially go way beyond treatment of an initial event. That’s why, when the call comes in, one of our experienced Falls Responders will be on the scene quickly to help get the patient back on their feet and provide further treatment or referral if required.

“We assess the needs of the patient to make sure they don’t fall again the future. Often going above the initial call made to 999.”

Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell, deputy leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: "This is an important service in a large rural county like ours and a real game changer for many people who would otherwise be left stranded waiting for help to arrive. It's shown to have a significant impact on reducing hospital admissions, with just under half of patients avoiding a trip to the hospital as a result of being assessed and treated by the LIVES Falls team. And there are comprehensive care packages to prevent further falls.

"The ongoing reduction in recurrent falls should ease the pressure on front line health and social care services in the longer term. The delivery of the service remains a prime example of innovation and partnership in Lincolnshire through joint working across the health and care system, and with voluntary and community sector services."

On the evening of Thursday, May 27, LIVES held a launch event to officially introduce the Falls Response Unit at their headquarters in Horncastle, showcasing the specialist skills and equipment carried onboard the service.

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