New falls risk assessment toolkit


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Posted on 08 April 2016
Falls are the largest cause of emergency hospital admissions for older people in the UK and are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2 billion per year...

UK healthcare professionals now have free access to a new EMIS web protocol and template (www.fallsrisk.co.uk) that identifies patients at risk of falls and, potentially at risk of unplanned hospital admissions, developed by Walsall CCG in partnership with Keele University.

Professor Steven Chapman from the Centre for Medicines Optimisation at Keele University said: “Falls are the largest cause of emergency hospital admissions for older people in the UK and are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2 billion per year. However, many falls are preventable. Removing hazards, addressing deterioration in muscle strength, balance and vision, and a medication review of psychotropic medicines will all reduce a person’s risk of falling.”

Features of the Falls Risk Assessment Toolkit include:

  • Search criteria incorporating:
    • Read codes consistent with predictors of falls risk as recommended by NICE1
    • High risk psychotropic medicines which can contribute to falls1
  • Identify patients over the age of 65 who may benefit from a medication review, falls assessment and sign-posting to local falls prevention services
  • Prompt background alerts to systematically identify at risk patients
  • Simple, intuitive and focused – in tests the toolkit was estimated to identify approximately 300 at-risk patients in a CCG of 280,000 patients2
  • Available free to use and fully compatible with EMIS Web clinical system

Developed by Walsall CCG in partnership with Keele University.

Bharat Patel, who was Head of Medicines Management and Primary Care at Walsall CCG when he helped to develop the Falls Risk Assessment Toolkit said: “The Falls Risk Assessment Toolkit is designed to be simple and easy to use. In practice, the whole healthcare team can proactively implement a review process whereby vulnerable patients can be identified, receive appropriate care and thus reduce their risk of falling.”

The Falls Risk Assessment Toolkit can be accessed and downloaded at www.fallsrisk.co.uk.
 
- ENDS –


Notes: The Falls Risk Assessment Toolkit was developed as part of a joint working initiative comprising Walsall CCG and Prescribing Decision Support Ltd at the Centre for Medicines Optimisation, Keele University. Development was supported by an unrestricted grant from Flynn Pharma Ltd in the UK.
 
Special thanks to Bharat Patel, Barbara Yates and Jaz Dhillon (Walsall CCG) for developing, validating and testing the Falls Risk Assessment Toolkit.

References 
1. Falls: assessment and prevention of falls in older people. NICE Clinical Guideline 161. June 2013 
2. Figures based on testing across a sample of local practices.


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