THOUSANDS of older and vulnerable people in Liverpool are to receive a late Christmas present in the form of a brand new pair of slippers – part of an NHS initiative to reduce falls.
Many accidents in the home arise from ill-fitting or worn slippers and can result in broken bones, requiring admission to hospital for surgery. This often involves a lengthy stay in hospital, followed by months of physiotherapy and a reduction in independence.
Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust has secured 360 pairs of well-fitting slippers to distribute to patients within the communities in which it works. As well as keeping people safe and mobile, reducing falls also helps to relieve pressure on GPs, hospitals and the ambulance service.
The cost to the NHS of one hip fracture is in excess of £30,000 and the effects of injuries can limit a person’s ability to live independently, as well as affecting confidence and self-esteem.
Gemma Cartledge, Podiatry Team Leader at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust said: “We know that as a result of having a fall, significant numbers of older people require emergency hospital admissions. In fact 45 per cent of hospital admissions from Riverside neighbourhood alone are falls-related, the highest in Liverpool.
“On average, one in three over 65-year-old people is likely to fall in the coming year. The physical and emotional effects of this on older patients cannot be underestimated. Falling can often trigger a loss in confidence and increase dependency.
“Our challenge is to work as hard as possible to reduce this likelihood and make falls an uncommon occurrence. Falling shouldn’t be an inevitable part of getting older and the vast majority could be prevented by making some modest changes. This is why we have chosen to distribute the slippers, which fasten properly. are sturdy and have thick soles to prevent items from piercing the soles and causing injury.”
The slippers will be distributed to male and female patients over the coming weeks, during which time the podiatry team will also be checking patients’ general foot health and providing tips on looking after their feet and preventing falls.
Gemma has compiled some top tips to help prevent falls:
- Check for hazards inside your home such as rugs, wires, floor spills and items left on the floor. Outside the home look out for wet leaves, dipped, cracked pavements, garden equipment and ornaments
- Where possible, use non-slip mats and ensure good lighting
- Wear well-fitting footwear that is in good condition and has ankle support. Footwear should provide a fastening mechanism and have a good, supportive sole
- Don’t walk bare foot, in socks or tights/ Always wear slippers or shoes
- Ensure any walking aids are in good condition
- Have a medication review by your GP. This is to ensure any medication is the correct dosage and is taken at the correct times during the day