There are many reasons why people might fall at home, be uninjured but not be able to get up by themselves. As people age and live longer, falls without injury which don’t require an ambulance call-out, may happen more frequently.

When I get tired, I do tend to fall more often. I fell on my drive last year but I wasn’t hurt, I just simply didn’t have the strength to get back up anymore. Mrs T, Progress Lifeline service user, August 2018

“Around 1 in 3 adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and about half of these will have more frequent falls. Most falls do not result in serious injury” - NHS

Many people don’t have family close by to help lift them, and even if they do, lifting someone can often lead to injuries to both parties.

Amid growing pressures on emergency services, especially during winter, uninjured fallers in the North West can expect to wait 2-3 hours, and sometimes longer, for paramedics to arrive and help them back up. (Expected response times taken from North West Ambulance Service, NWAS)

It is imperative that emergency calls take precedent over uninjured fallers but a solution was needed for those people who were experiencing long waits for help, sometimes resulting in injuries caused by waiting, or trying to get themselves back up. So five years ago, in conjunction with the NHS and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), Progress Lifeline's assistive lifting service was created.

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Progress Lifeline's existing emergency home response team received training, which was supported by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), to provide a specialist assistive lifting service across Lancashire to people who have fallen at home without sustaining an injury.

Trained in initial injury assessment, emergency first aid, and assistive lifting techniques, the Progress Lifeline emergency home responder arrives at a customer’s home within one hour no matter which part of Lancashire they reside in, after a customer presses their Progress Lifeline red button personal alarm, with an average response time during 2018 of just 34 minutes.

I would just like to say how I value this service. I am a carer for my husband, and the support I get from knowing if he has a fall, someone will come night or day, is beyond value. I am very grateful. Mrs R, Progress Lifeline customer, January 2018

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Simon Evans, Team Leader at Progress Lifeline says: “Our emergency response team now support over 12,000 people across Lancashire. Last year, we completed nearly 2000 assistive lifts, which otherwise would have required an ambulance, which has reduced pressure on paramedics to attend non-injured falls in Lancashire, and helped free up the valuable ambulance service."

After a fall at home, if the person is happy to be referred, Progress Lifeline emergency responders also complete a referral to the relevant NHS falls prevention service in Lancashire, who provide home assessments and aids and adaptation recommendations to help prevent future falls for that person.

Amanda Lomas, Commissioning Manager for Fylde and Wyre CCG adds: “The CCG has commissioned Progress Lifeline's lifting service for over 5 years, providing an excellent timely service to Fylde and Wyre residents and collaborating with the CCG, North West Ambulance Service and Falls Management Service to support a whole system approach to keeping patients safe and well.”

Progress Lifeline responders are enhanced DBS-checked and carry a variety of professional lifting equipment including an Elk inflatable lifting cushion and a Raizer electronic lifting chair, which swiftly and safely raises people back up to a sitting or almost standing position in a comfortable and dignified way, with minimum physical effort required for the responder.

So far when falling, I have not suffered any injuries, so all I have needed is help to get up from the floor onto my chair. This has always been achieved quickly and very sensitively. I am so grateful, many thanks. Mrs V, Progress Lifeline customer, March 2018

The Emergency Home Response and assistive lifting service now represents one of the fastest growing and significant areas of the Progress Lifeline service, delivering outcomes such as savings for the NHS and health and social care services via reduction in hospital admissions, and enables ambulances and paramedics to focus on high risk priority call-outs and to help manage their unrelenting demand pressures, as well as delaying health and social care service intervention, including care home admissions.

Perhaps most importantly, for many older or vulnerable people, or people living with long term conditions and their families who use the service, it has prevented further injury or illness after a fall, reduced anxiety about falling, and improved quality of life for people who want to stay living at home independently for longer.

The Emergency Home Response and assistive lifting service is available across Lancashire to people taking out the Progress Lifeline personal alarm service at a total cost of £5.10 per week and in some cases, is available free of charge as part of Lancashire County Council telecare services, also provided by Progress Lifeline.

Telecare falls packages are also available from Progress Lifeline, which include the wrist-worn Vibby Falls Detector. For more information about Progress Lifeline’s assistive lifting service, and home safety and wellbeing assistive technology packages in Lancashire, please visit Progress Lifeline.

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