National award for falls team

Falls co-ordinator and occupational therapist Yvonne Cheung in the trust’s community integrated assessment team was named the winner of the chief health professions officer’s award for clinical leadership in the Advancing Healthcare Awards, in recognition of her innovative work preventing falls in the community.

The awards which are open to allied health professionals and healthcare scientists across the UK, are the only awards which cover these professional and specialist groups who make an important contribution to patients’ recovery.

Yvonne’s work for achieving a reduction of 57% in the number of falls by residents in care homes during a three month pilot project with Stockton Borough Council has gained her this recognition.

Falls are major causes of injury and death in older people, especially those in care homes, because they are generally frailer and have multiple long-term conditions.

The rate of falls in care homes is almost three times higher than that of older people living in the community.

The majority of falls are caused by residents getting out of chair or bed unaided. Yvonne secured funding for occupant exit alarms and this together with training of staff to increase awareness of the cause and effects of falls helped to reduce the number of falls. Falls prevention posters were displayed as a reminder for staff and visitors, and a step-by-step plan was created to help care staff to look at risk factors and the action required to help residents avoid falling.

The judges recognised that this project could make a big impact across all care homes.

Yvonne was delighted to be presented with her award at a celebration lunch ceremony, presented by Roy Lilley, NHS commentator and author in London. She said: “I was extremely surprised to win this award, and pleased that my achievements have been recognised in this way, but I could not have done it without the support of the fantastic team I work with.”

Therapy services operational lead Steve Pett added: “This is a fantastic achievement. I am very proud of Yvonne to be recognised for her work nationally, who along with the dedicated team constantly works hard to provide and improve care for patients.”

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