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NewsClear your clutter, urges North West Ambulance Service

Clear your clutter, urges North West Ambulance Service

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is urging people to ‘clear their clutter’ after reporting it responded to more than 100,000 emergency calls relating to falls last year.

The number of emergency calls it receives for falls is always high but the figure is increasing during winter periods.

The service responded to 60 per cent more falls-related calls across the North West from December 2021 to February 2022 compared with autumn of that year.

Falls that could be avoided

Community specialist paramedic Sara Harris says: “At home, we tend to move around without thinking about our safety as it is where we are comfortable and where we spend much of our time. Falls prevention in and around the home may seem like common sense, however, it isn’t always easy to recognise the things that can cause trips, slips and falls.

“In my role, I have seen clutter, poor lighting, uneven surfaces and slippery floors as being some of the main causes of falls that could have been avoided.

“Making a few small changes at home will make it easier to get around and carry out daily activities. An important first step toward preventing falls at home is to remove anything that could cause trips or slips while walking around.”

Having a fall will be nothing more than a bit embarrassing for many, however, a it can be startling, upsetting and life-changing, especially as people get older.

NWAS reported that 78% of its falls-related 999 calls in 2022 were for patients aged 65 and older, with this age group more likely to require hospital treatment than younger patients.

There are several reasons why people fall which can all intertwine. This can be down to personal risk factors such as weak muscles, sensory issues, poor balance and walking difficulties. It can also be down to chronic medical conditions, medication side effects, delirium and fall hazards around the home.

Tips from NWAS

• Clear clutter from floors or stairs – including small furniture, pet bowls, trailing cables, or other things that can cause you to trip

• Avoid leaving or storing items on stairs and hallways

• Arrange furniture to give plenty of room to walk freely

• Remove loose mats and rugs to reduce the risk of tripping accidentally

• Improve or add extra lighting

• Store frequently used items within easier reach

• Change or adapt furniture and furnishings to give more support.

For more information visit: nwas.nhs.uk/falls

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