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Elderly People: Falls

Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many elderly people in residential nursing homes in the (a) private and (b) public sector in each health board area in Northern Ireland have been recorded as having fallen from beds and chairs and required further medical treatment for their injuries in the last three years. (113427)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how often checks were made on residential nursing homes and hospital units in each health board area in Northern Ireland caring for the elderly to ensure best practice in health and safety in each of the last three years. (113428)

Under current legislation, which commenced in April 2005, all nursing homes are required to be inspected a minimum of twice in every 12 month period. Prior to this, only voluntary and independent homes were statutorily required to be inspected on the same basis, whilst homes run by Health and Social Services trusts were similarly inspected as a matter of good practice.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority has reported a total of 621 inspections of 172 nursing homes in 2005-06.

Information on the previous two years is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

There is no legislative provision requiring inspections of hospital units.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether follow-up checks are made by officials to elderly people who live in the community in Northern Ireland and who are recorded as having had a fall; and if he will make a statement. (113429)

Older people who are already within the care of the Health and Personal Social Services have their care needs regularly re-assessed in the light of changing circumstances. Older people not known to the HPSS may be referred, following a fall, to have a multi-disciplinary assessment of their continuing care needs. In addition, there are many schemes across Northern Ireland aimed at preventing falls by older people, through risk assessment and the use of adaptations and equipment.