Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) has joined up with East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) to help vulnerable people who have fallen in their homes.
The partnership is a 12 month pilot which will see four Community Wellbeing Officers work across Essex responding to calls from people who have fallen in their homes.
The Community Wellbeing Officers completed a three week emergency responder training with EEAST in order to learn the skills required for their role.
Falls can account for up to 20% of the ambulance service’s calls. Many people that have fallen don’t have urgent injuries and just need to be helped up and checked to ensure they’re safe to be left alone. The new partnership aims to allow ambulance crews to attend the most seriously ill people Essex.
Currently, if a person falls at home and has no injuries, they could have a long wait for an Ambulance to become available. This programme aims to send a Community Wellbeing Officer within an hour of the call.
Although some patients will require hospital treatment, many simply need to be helped to their feet and checked over to make sure they are safe to be left at home.
How the scheme will work
When a call is received by EEAST via 999 or 111 to a person who has fallen it will be clinically assessed by the EEAST control room. Where appropriate (i.e. if the patient doesn’t have any injuries) it will be assigned to our Community Wellbeing Officers. The officers, who will be working in pairs, will then be dispatched to the address to safely get the patient off the floor. The officers will then discuss the patient’s condition with a clinician in the EEAST control room to ensure the patient can be safely left at home.
Once the officers have assisted the patient they will also carry out a tailored home safety check ensure their smoke alarms are working and will also help to reduce risk of fire or further falls (loose rug, old slippers, steps without hand rails).
The aim of the partnership is to allow ambulance crews to be more available for serious medical emergencies, while making vulnerable residents safer in their homes.
Claire Monk, Live Safe Manager and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said:
“We are thrilled to be part of this pilot programme as it provides such a valuable service to our most vulnerable residents.
“We know that the people who are most at risk from falls are also at risk of greatest harm in the event of a fire at home, so to be able to visit these people and help mitigate these risks will also hopefully reduce the number of house fires and resulting injuries and fatalities.”
Tom Barker, EEAST Community Response Manager said:
“We’re delighted to be part of this collaboration with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service which aims to improve the speed of response and increase support for people who have fallen in their homes.
“The people we’ll be responding to are the vulnerable members of our communities who will not only benefit from a quicker response to help them up and off the floor, but also the person-centred home safety check that will be carried out at the same time.
“I am confident that this programme will see real benefits, for not only for our Service, but more importantly to our vulnerable members of our community who we want to make sure are safe in their homes.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “We are committed to working with all community partners to create safe and secure communities where all can prosper. This is an efficient and effective collaboration to deliver best possible future services.
“We know it is the most vulnerable people who most often come to harm, and this initiative will help us identify them and keep them safe.”
EEAST will also have additional teams setup around the region with fellow Fire and Rescue Services in the coming weeks to strength our ongoing collaborative working.