Keeping the vulnerable and elderly safe at home.

The Falls Challenge

Reducing the prevalence of falls amongst the vulnerable and elderly.

Teignbridge District Council spends £890,000 per year on house adaptations. With insufficient finances to meet the growing demand for housing services and adaptations, Teignbridge District Council asked Made Open to explore a user-centred design led approach to trial new ways of making homes safer and reducing falls. We explored the issue in more depth and co-developed new ideas for service and system changes.

Mapping out the experiences of people who have fallen identified huge gaps in the system. From recognising people who are not placed at risk of falling after multiple falls at home to learning how older people rarely wish to engage with health and social services through embarrassment (even after a severe fall); we quickly recognised that a number of stakeholders from different organisations could make the difference. A series of short video edits gave these partners a snap shot of key findings.

Working closely with local GP surgeries, we tested three different awareness-raising campaigns:

  • Sound Advice – Using popular records from the 1960’s, we designed a vintage record installation to engage our target audience about falls through music and memories.
  • Fall Victim – We recreated a chalk line crime scene to emphasise some hard-hitting statistics about falls. This shock technique worked well.
  • Fall Proof – We created a fun campaign suggesting that people apply bubble wrap to make their homes “fall proof”, which linked to a free Fall Proof home check service.

Meeting with providers from health, social care, community volunteering and housing services, we ran a series of “falls pathway” mapping workshops. This process mapped out available support services, identified gaps and opportunities for improvements.

We worked with partners to design a blueprint for a new home assessment and reporting service. The Fall Proof service has three core elements:

  • Online photo submission: Engage family members so that they can diagnose hazards in the home and receive advice on how to make necessary changes to their loved ones homes.
  • Home assessment service: Offer home assessments and tailored reports to identify potential hazards in the home and ways to reduce the risk of trips and falls.
  • Volunteer support pack: Distribute an information pack with advice about how to avoid trips and falls in the home; including a home assessment checklist and training with the NHS falls prevention team.

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