Anyone can have a fall, but older people are more vulnerable and likely to fall. 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. Over 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis putting them at risk of fragility fractures. When Belmont House resident Millie fell and fractured her hip it was a real team effort to get her back on her feet.
Ninety-four-year-old Millicent Darnill has been a resident at Belmont House for two years. Before the pandemic her son, Jim was a regular visitor to the home and spent many hours with his mother experiencing the care provided first-hand. Jim and Millie are keen walkers and with the Trans Pennine Trail on their doorstep had spent many hours walking together in the countryside around the local town of Stocksbridge. Her son Jim explains how it was a team effort to get Millie back on her feet again following her fall:
“I would regularly take my mother out for a drive and a walk in the fresh air out here in the countryside around Stocksbridge and in the summer of 2019 she, unfortunately, had a fall and fractured her hip. She had to stay in hospital while they fixed a plate over the fracture and then she returned to Belmont but wasn't mobile any more and had to use a wheelchair. She was regularly attended by physios during her stay in hospital but, due to an oversight, there was a two-week delay before a physio (Stacey) came to see her when she returned to Belmont House. When Stacey first came to see her and assess her, she believed that the two-week delay would almost certainly mean that my mother would, unfortunately, remain confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
The physios at the hospital had given us some exercises for my mother so me and my sister and, most important of all, [Belmont House] staff, encouraged and cajoled my mother into working hard with the exercises and when Stacey came for my mother's physio session a week later, she was astounded at the progress she'd made.
That decided it for Stacey, and she really knuckled down then in the following sessions to get my mother mobile again (Stacey was wonderful) but without the effort put in by us, and particularly the Belmont House staff on the days in between Stacey's visits it wouldn't have happened. My mother had decided she was quite happy to stay in the wheelchair and be pushed about so when she reached the point when Stacey decided she should begin to use a walking frame and not the wheelchair it wasn't easy. But the Belmont staff really excelled themselves and used all the support and encouragement they could muster to get my mother walking again. I get quite emotional when I remember it because without their care my mother wouldn't have walked again.
Because of all the effort that everybody had put in we reached the point where I'd started taking my mother out again for runs in the car and short walks which were gradually getting a little longer, that is until the lockdown stopped us. And, if not for the lockdown, I'm certain that last summer we'd have built up again to reasonable walks.
Before the lockdown I spent a lot of time in Belmont with my mother, playing cards and dominoes, singing along with the entertainers, sitting in on the chairobics exercises and encouraging my mother and the others to join in, and even sometimes leading the hymn singing when the vicar from Bolsterstone church visited to hold a service. I'd often take my guitar and sing a couple of songs for everybody to sing along with, and I've played at some of the fairs that have been put on, and dragged other musicians in to join me, all free of charge. So, I soon got to know everybody, staff and residents, and honestly, I think the care that your staff provide really is first-rate! Just as an aside I'd like to say that things like the fairs and especially the wonderful trips out in the minibus are a huge boost to the residents’ state of mind and wellbeing. There's real excitement and a buzz in the air when everybody is getting into the minibus for a trip out somewhere. It's great just to be there and see the look on the residents’ faces! You can really see the pleasure they get from it.
I'm so pleased we picked Belmont House for my mother. There are other homes in the area, they're very highly regarded, and we hear wonderful things about them from friends who have relatives living there, but I'm convinced your staff at Belmont House place it above all the others. It really is a loving, caring, family environment and it's just so comforting to know that my mother is receiving such excellent care.”
Working proactively to prevent falls and hip fractures is a key priority for care teams at Country Court. Home Managers review data on falls in their care homes to identified trends such as times of the day when falls are occurring. Working with local health care professionals staff teams put measures in place to reduce falls such as additional staff training or turning people regularly during the night to reduce the likelihood of them falling from bed.
Residents are encouraged to take regular light exercise to improve muscle strength and balance. Wellbeing teams provide daily chair-based exercise, games and support people to take walks around the home and garden. Medications are regularly reviewed as part of each person’s care plan as some medications or combinations of medicines can make people feel dizzy. The home environment is checked regularly by staff for potential hazards and residents are encouraged to wear well-fitting shoes and slippers. Specialist equipment such as falls mats may be utilised where required, alerting staff when residents attempt to stand unaided.