York expands its free falls protection service for vulnerable residents

YORK Council’s falls prevention service has been deemed so successful it has been expanded to cover more parts of the city.

The scheme was established as part of the council’s YorWellbeing Services in March 2017 and since then has completed 370 home visits. Initially covering the Clifton ward, it was then extended to cover Guildhall ward, and it has now been expanded to residents in Micklegate and Fishergate wards.

According to the council, these wards were identified by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as having homes with higher trip risks than the city average. These include hazards such as missing stair rails, uneven flooring or poor internal lighting, especially for children aged under five and older people.

“This free, preventative support helps to improve the quality of the city’s housing and is supported by partners including Vale of York CCG and North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue. Residents in these wards will benefit immensely from this service,” said Councillor Jenny Brooks, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods.

Councillor Carol Runciman, executive member for adult social care and health, added: “Preventing the pain and anxiety of falling at home is so important. This offer of help and advice will help reduce the risk of a fall in the future: do take it up and urge friends and family members who’d benefit from it to do the same.”

The partnership of housing, health and safety experts including North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, and Age UK York carry out free home visits to check and repair simple trip hazards in homes whether rented or privately owned.

Visits are arranged and carried out with a falls prevention practitioner and a joiner. They offer practical advice specific to the resident and their home and can make simple improvements there and then such as fitting a grab rail or banister rail, fitting brighter light bulbs, securing loose carpets or suggesting exercises to help improve residents’ strength and balance. They will also signpost residents to other relevant services.

Since its launch, the team has helped improve fall prevention measures with about 1,400 individual improvements including: 600 grab rails; 213 banister rails; 300 brighter light bulbs; re-fitted 21 banister rails; 18 newel posts; 13 window restrictors; and eight carpet trim strips. With the fire and rescue service, the team has also fitted 36 smoke detectors.

“We are pleased that this scheme is being extended to a wider area of York,” said Rose Fearnley, watch manager prevention and protection at the fire and rescue service. “Our staff have received training to be able to identify and refer people who are at risk of falling and we have provided training on smoke alarm fitting to other partners. These measures will help keep more people safer in their homes.”



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