Home Instead: Cutting NHS Costs, Through Innovation

Over the years, at Home Instead we’ve always tried to be innovative and forward thinking when it comes to developing our team to solve challenges in the care sector. Ideas come and go but without question, our partnership with the South West Ambulance Service and the acquisition of our first Raizer chair in 2017, has been something of a ‘game changer’ with regard to the way we could assist clients who had experienced a fall in their home, and crucially, make a difference in outcome, by avoiding hospitalisation.

Falls are a prominent cause of unintentional injury, and each year around a third of adults aged 65 and over who live at home, have at least one fall. There are enormous potential medical and economic repercussions to this. Facts that we recognised, and which lead to our collaboration with our local South West Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST), in order to find a solution. The result of this partnership was a resounding success in all regards and continues to be so. Through adopting a vigorous falls protocol and deployment of the Raizer Chair, Home Instead – Exeter & East Devon, has managed to reduce client hospitalisation from non-injury related falls from over 50% to less than 11%. The Case Study was in fact documented within a widely distributed international paper (“Home care takes on the challenges of falls at home: innovative practice”) in 2020, co-written by our Owner/Director, Mark McGlade and Karen Denning from Dementia UK, for the International Journal of Care and Caring.

The report highlighted some vital statistics, which proved that the consequences of falls for older members of our communities see them at increased risk of hospitalisation, dependency, an acute lowering in the quality of life and increased morbidity. (Peeters et al, 2009).

The collaboration of our team at Home Instead with SWAST in 2016, saw the sharing of the SWAST ‘Traffic Light System’ – a method of assessing the individual in need – and adapting it for the home care sector to suit assessment by our CAREGiver colleagues. Whilst undoubtedly beneficial, the physical process still required more than one team member to safely perform it.

Determined to find a solution to this obstacle, the Home Instead team continued to investigate and upon attending a SWAST event in 2017, discovered the Raizer chair – a lifting device which could be used by a single operator to help non-injured clients from the floor in a ‘timely and dignified’ manner. The advantages were immediately apparent to the Home Instead team and following a demonstration at the Home Instead offices in 2018, the first Home Instead Raizer chair device was purchased, and the team trained in its operation.

The subsequent support that Home Instead then provided to the ambulance service through use of the Raizer, was noted as a case of innovative best practice in the “CQC Annual State of Health Care and Adult Social Care in England 2018/19” report, siting how Home Instead had undoubtedly eased pressure on the ambulance service and had helped individuals to avoid hospital admittance.

Since this point in time, the benefits of this amazing piece of equipment and the Falls Protocol have been far reaching and numerous, hence the purchase of the second Home Instead Raizer, in 2020. In that year alone, Home Instead utilised the Raizer chairs 92 times to support a non-injury related fall and on each occasion, avoided the need for an ambulance to be called. Given that the average cost of NHS hospitalisation from a fall is £5k (considering ambulance, A&E and average time in hospital), support from Home Instead CAREGivers, assisted by the Raizer chair, has saved the NHS and taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds and kept patients out of hospital, relieving pressure on the NHS.

With Ambulance Services under immense strain, they are forced to triage call outs and prioritise emergency calls over what may appear to be a non-injury related fall. Problems arise when an older person is left unattended on the floor for several hours which can result in hypothermia, pressure sores and in extreme cases organ failure or death. In many cases, a casualty of a non-injury fall can wait for several hours for an ambulance to arrive and the delay in response can then lead to a hospitalisation through complications as mentioned above.

The Home Instead rapid response with the falls assessment and Raizer Chair has meant that casualties of a fall can be assessed quickly (in most cases less than 35 minutes) and if a non-injury fall, can be helped to their feet and made comfortable, avoiding an ambulance call out. The initial assessment by trained Home Instead staff has also helped the emergency response teams in prioritising ambulance call outs, when an injury is suspected, through the trusted professional relationship the teams have developed.

We continue to be committed to improving our outstanding services, assisting clients in every way possible, and to leading the field with regard to innovation. The prospect that our assistance may have saved lives along the way is an amazing one and knowing that our investment and efforts have saved the NHS what could be in excess of £500k since 2017, is astounding. Proof that collaboration is key and that investment in the right home care can prevent the ultimate need for hospital care.

To view a demonstration of our Raizer chair, click HERE. For further information on our 5 Star home care services, call us on 01395 200600.