Hundreds helped so far by falls vehicle

Hundreds have received extra support from a project to help Norfolk patients who have suffered a fall.

The Early Intervention Vehicle (EIV) was launched in February as part of a scheme between the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C).

In the first four months of the pilot project, senior emergency medical technicians (EMT) and occupational therapists were dispatched to almost 300 patients in Norwich, North Norfolk and South Norfolk. And thanks to the care provided at home, more than 60% of those patients did not require transport to hospital. The project also gives patients help and support to help avoid falls in the future.

Terry Hicks, EEAST Sector Head for Norfolk and Waveney, said: “One in five of all 999 calls to the ambulance service are to patients who have suffered a fall and an emergency ambulance is not always required as a response. We have also responded to patients that benefit from earlier support, who have not fallen but who are still unwell – especially those with terminal conditions or with complex needs.

The partnership with the community health trust has also had a positive response from patients and carers as they have received rapid referrals for extra or enhanced packages of care and social care where required.”

Lorrayne Barrett, Director of Norfolk Adult Operations and Integration at NCH&C said: “I’m very pleased that this project has been so successful. This is a great example of how working in partnership with our NHS and social care colleagues means we are able to work more efficiently together, and helps us to better deliver care to our patients.

"The EIV ensures we can target the right support straight away to people in the community who have had a fall. The OT can assess and expedite referrals to the correct services - health and social care. By promoting independence in this way we can avoid their unnecessary admission to hospital and the person can remain in their own home. It’s a perfect example of partnership working.”