Local Liberal Democrats have warned that the number of hospital admissions due to an older person falling, is set to rise to nearly 1,000 a day by the end of the decade.
The worrying forecast, according to data released by the Local Government Association, has prompted renewed calls for more funding for adult social care to invest in cost-effective prevention work to reduce falls, which can have devastating and life-threatening consequences on a person’s health and wellbeing.
Local Liberal Democrats believe many falls can be avoided and are calling for:
- Greater awareness raising among the public around fall prevention
- The Government to fully address the adult social care funding gap, which will reach more than £2 billion by 2020
- Adult social care to be put on an equal footing to the NHS
Latest figures from England in 2016/17, show there were 316,669 hospital admissions of people aged 65 and over due to falling, amounting to two thirds of all fall-related admissions. Around a fifth of these were as a result of slipping, tripping or stumbling.
Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Meri O'Connell said:
“It is deeply saddening when someone falls over, including in their own home, and have to go to hospital as a result.
“Not only is this traumatic and upsetting for the individual concerned and their families, but this has a significant impact on health and social care as well, which are already overstretched as a result of unprecedented demand.
“Council-run fall prevention schemes, such as home assessment and modification programmes, have shown to significantly reduce the number of falls requiring hospital admission and to offer a good return on investment, saving money from the public purse. But government cuts mean less can be done, which has seen spending on prevention work from adult social care budgets reduced by more than £60 million in the past year.
“To reduce demand and cost pressures on the NHS, the Government needs to switch its focus from reducing delayed discharges from hospital to preventing admissions in the first place and put adult social care and the NHS on an equal footing."