Falls Prevention Service

The Falls Prevention Service aims to provide information and practical help to people who have fallen over in the community or in hospital, and to help them understand the nature of a fall and how falls can be prevented in the future.

Please note: The Falls Prevention Service is currently suspended and will resume in September. The information below may have expired.

The service is primarily for those aged 65 years or over, but we will see people aged between 50 and 64 years if they have an underlying condition that increases their risk of falling.

Falls prevention

Are you over 65 years of age? Have you fallen or nearly fallen in the past year?  Are you worried about falling?  

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, the following information may be of help to you.

The Falls Prevention Service uses the expertise of a variety of specialists, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists and consultant physicians, to find the most suitable treatment for every patient. We use evidence-based assessment techniques and interventions, and are committed to providing individualised care.

The Falls Prevention Service is provided for patients across all Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust sites and in the community.

Community falls assessment

If you have experienced falls at home or in the community, or have concerns about falling over, please speak to you GP about your situation and needs. Your GP can refer you to our community service for assessment.

The community-based Falls Prevention Service aims to:

  • Reduce the incidence of preventable falls;
  • Raise awareness about risks and hazards;
  • Promote healthy activity;
  • Provide practical advice;
  • Help you find solutions in order to stay safe and independent in your own home.

If appropriate, we will make an appointment to visit you at home and carry out a full falls risk assessment. During this assessment, we will look at a wide range of risk factors such as:

  • Balance and mobility
  • Medications
  • Blood pressure
  • Diet and exercise
  • Feet and footwear
  • Fracture risk
  • Financial/social worries
  • Vision and hearing
  • Home environment

Once this assessment has been carried out, we will agree a plan with you to reduce your risk of falling. If necessary, we will refer you to other agencies or health professionals for more specialised help. We will make all recommended contacts and arrangements for you with your agreement.

Hospital falls assessment

Clinics

The Falls Prevention Service runs clinics at Harrogate District Hospital to help support people who are at risk of falling over. As part of these clinics, you will be assessed by a variety of specialists.

The multidisciplinary falls clinic: this clinic runs every Friday morning in our Elmwood Day Unit. The service is provided for people over the age of 65 who have had a recent fall (both with and without injury). This may be due to a loss of consciousness, a complex medical problem or existing walking and/or balance problems.

This is a specialised clinic designed for patients with particularly complex needs. Referral into this clinic is via your GP, hospital doctor or therapy specialist.

The multifactorial falls assessment: this assessment aims to identify why you’ve fallen and prevent further falls. The assessment includes a

  • Medical assessment by our consultant physician;
  • Podiatry assessment for footwear and foot function, biomechanical and gait analysis;
  • Physiotherapy assessment of walking, balance, function and musculoskeletal problems;
  • Occupational therapy assessment of functional ability in daily activities, and any home hazards and equipment requirements. The occupational therapist will address the psychological issues that may exist around the fear of falling.

During the assessment, we aim to show you how to remain as active and independent as possible, and to explain how injuries or a stay in hospital may be avoided.

Please be aware that your assessment could take up to three hours as we aim to complete all the investigations in one visit. Refreshments will be available. You will need to bring a full list of your medications and a urine sample, and your height and weight will be noted upon arrival.

The doctor may arrange further investigations if appropriate. These can include blood tests, X-rays, or echocardiograms. After the assessment, you may be offered a follow-up appointment or a home visit, or you may be referred to non-NHS services such as exercise sessions run by charities.

Inpatients

If you are an inpatient, your medical/surgical team may carry out an assessment of your falls risk upon admission to the ward. This means that we can limit any risk factors that may cause you to fall while in hospital.

Location

The Falls Prevention Service is based in the Elmwood Day Unit, ground floor, Harrogate District Hospital.

Referral

The service is primarily for those aged 65 years or over, but we will see people aged between 50 and 64 years if they have an underlying condition that increases their risk of falling. If you believe you would benefit from our service but you don’t fit the criteria for a falls assessment, please speak to our Falls Prevention Coordinator directly.

Key staff

Falls Prevention Coordinator: Carmel Lister

Consultant Geriatrician and Clinical Lead for Falls Prevention: Dr Joanne McCreanor

Specialist Occupational Therapist: Caroline Gilbody

Specialist Podiatrist: Karen Quinn

Specialist Physiotherapist: Jane Haley

Patient Leaflets