NHS and Fire Service join forces to help vulnerable
Published on 01 October 2015 12:01 AM
The NHS and Fire Service have signed a new Consensus to help vulnerable people and reduce pressures on services in winter.
Today, five organisations have signed a new ‘Consensus' setting out new ways of working together at a local level - NHS England, Public Health England, the Fire and Rescue Service, Age UK and the Local Government Association.
The Consensus aims to reduce demand on services in winter and to improve the quality of life of people living with long-term conditions.
As a result fire fighters will carry out more ‘Safe and well checks' in older people's homes when they visit as a way to identify risks at an early stage.
These checks can identify hazards such as household items that could be tripped over and lead to a fall, and also test for hearing and sight problems and loneliness.
Reducing these risks at an early stage will reduce visits to A&E, and avoid older people suffering from broken hips and depression.
Helping older people to stay healthy at home
The Consensus has been launched on International Older People's Day at a World Health Organisation (WHO) conference.
The WHO have also today released a report, Ageing and Health, calling for better alignment of healthcare systems and the need to address the demands of older age in a more integrated way.
Pam Creaven, Services Director at Age UK, said: ‘We're delighted to be part of the Consensus and believe that Local Age UKs and local fire services working together can really make a difference, helping older people stay healthy and independent in their own home.'
Firefighters are a trusted part of the community
Evidence shows that a high percentage of people will allow fire fighters into their home due to the high level of trust they have making it easier for them to give simple advice which could save or change a life.
For example, the fire fighters can quickly install a handrail, notice and change falls hazards such as loose rugs, and spot hazards such as piled up papers or signpost people to local groups for help, support or company.
Read a day in the life blog on the frontline at a current pilot scheme of the new ‘Consensus'