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The hidden cost of falls

  • Angela May

Research has highlighted that falls cost the NHS in excess of £2billion a year- and that excludes the potentially four times higher cost, arising from the impact in community care, aids provision, and the psychological impact(1).

Aerolet TiltIn some areas, falls account for almost 5% of the whole local adult social care budget(1).

Falls are among the top 10 causes of disability adjusted life years. Using the toilet is one of the most risky activities, especially among older people: approximately 20% of injuries/falls happen using the WC(2).

“It’s not hard to make going to the toilet safer, and potentially more hygienic too,” says Robin Tuffley, marketing manager at Closomat, Britain’s leading provider of assistive toileting solutions. “And even at the top end of solutions, it is still cost comparable against just the hospital cost of treatment(3) before the social care cost has been factored in!

“Something as simple as fitting a grab rail can help. Solutions that prevent the twisting, turning, and address balance have a more positive impact: they address the common physical factors of muscle weakness and poor balance. These include technology such as wash & dry toilets that save having to grab toilet tissue, wipe clean etc, height adjustable WCs that can be raised to assist someone with mobility, balance issues, or toilet lifters that are the WC equivalent of riser recliner chairs.”

Uniquely, much of Closomat supportive technology can be accessorised retrospectively, to address user needs as they change. So, for example, support arms can be added, the height can be adjusted, the operating mechanism changed. “It all helps prevent a fall initially, and in the long term,” adds Robin. “And it gives the user the peace of mind that they can ‘go’ safely- how do you put a cost on that? There is much talk to encourage the use of technology to help reduce the burden on the NHS and social care. Solutions already exist, there just needs to be more use made of them.”

As a company, Closomat provides a complete specify, supply and fit package, and can include service, maintenance and repair. It is brand leader in its sector. Its website has a raft of information to help care services choose the most appropriate solution.

1. The Kings Fund Exploring the System Wide Costs of Falls in Older People
2. Center for Disease Control & Prevention
3. NHS Incidence and Costs of Inpatient Falls in Hospitals

Closomat Limited, Building 1, Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale Cheshire, M33 3SD