A new Community Assistance Team will be piloted in Denbighshire in the form of a specialised team of staff working together to specifically respond to vulnerable people who experience a fall in their home.
The aim of the initiative is to reduce the number of people who need to attend hospital as a result of a fall, thereby reducing the pressure and demands on ambulance and medical services.
The team consists of fully trained staff recruited from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service who are equipped to provide a service of excellence and an improved patient experience.
Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service explains:
“This is one of a number of pilot projects we’re working on in partnership with our colleagues in the emergency services to keep our communities safe.
“The benefits of collaborative working with other emergency and public services are obvious, both in monetary savings and in respect of delivering improved services to our communities.
“Around 3,000 falls requiring assistance occur in the Denbighshire area every year, which is around 250 falls a month - and this places a huge demand on public services. By responding as a specialised team to non-injury falls in this way we hope to alleviate some of that pressure as well as provide a much improved service.”
The Initiative is supported by Welsh Government in conjunction with the three emergency services, Denbighshire County Council, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Galw Gofal / Care Connect, and North Wales Regional Call Monitoring Service.
The pilot will initially run for a period of around 8 months with team members working in pairs on a shift pattern covering known peak times between 7am - 3pm and 3pm - 11pm.
They will respond in a branded Community Assistance Team vehicle that is fully equipped with all of the necessary specialist equipment, including lifting devices so as to safely assist a person back to a seated position.
The pilot also focuses on using innovative lifting technology to deliver improved health and care at lower cost.
Members of the public can access the service by calling the Ambulance Service or using their Telecare equipment installed by Denbighshire County Council.
Mark Timmins from Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust said: “There is an increasing demand on us to respond to a wide range of patients with complex needs in a timely manner as well as to improve the patient experience and, most importantly, clinical outcome.
“This initiative responds to improving the response to non-injury fallers, to improve the chances of the patient staying at home, reduce the need for the traditional ambulance response and encourage more collaboration between the appropriate agencies.”
Inspector Paul Wycherley from North Wales Police said: “Members of the Community Assistance Team will also be trained in crime prevention skills such as fitting window locks to help protect potentially vulnerable residents, as well as providing welfare checks.
“Our officers are often called out to support instances of falls in the home and this new initiative will therefore alleviate some of the pressure on our own resources.”
Rhianwen Jones, North Wales Regional Telecare Strategic Manager, said: “Falls management is complex and challenges health and social care. A range of telecare equipment is available from local authorities that can be used by vulnerable people in their own homes to raise an alarm in the event of a fall.
"Galw Gofal / Care Connect will receive the call and alert the Community Assistance Team to help. An effective response service is vital in the effective use of technology in care”
Councillor Bobby Feeley, Cabinet Lead Member for Social Care, Adult and Children's Services, Denbighshire County Council said: “We all know that the call upon our services is changing – and this project is an excellent example of an opportunity to discover efficient and effective ways to work together in new and improved ways to protect our communities.”
Stuart Millington added: “The pilot project will be fully evaluated as we are mindful that collaboration is about delivering improved services to the public - we have a duty to explore this work and where appropriate make changes to how we deliver our services in the future.”