Work taking between Fire and Rescue Services and health organisations is helping to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable people, while contributing to independent living; according to a new report.
The document features a number of case studies from projects across the country. It details how organisations are working together in a bid to increase people’s quality of lives by concentrating on prevention and referrals.
Fire services across the country have been working with health organisations in a bid to help people live more independent lives, access much-needed services while helping to reducing pressure on the health service.
According to the Office for National Statistics there are more than half a million vulnerable people in the UK (aged over 90), two million unplanned hospital admissions a year for those aged over 65 and the ONS estimates 18,200 excess winter deaths every year.
Library Research from the House of Commons states: “Policies that improve preventative healthcare, and help people remain active and healthy in later life, could help increase the proportion of life spent in good health and reduce costs.”
The new document also helps to underpin the work FRSs can do to support health partners; including reducing the burdens on health services, GP practices, hospital A&Es and health budgets.
It also helps to reinforce good practice and how public services are breaking away from traditional ways of working and supporting other areas of the public sector. This helps to ensure the public sector is effective, efficient, and better value for the tax payer.
The safe and well visits includes: Identifying people who would be classed as vulnerable; carrying out checks to identify additional issues other than fire safety risks; and making referrals to other organisations and agencies.
These can including local authorities for benefit checks, energy organisations for insulation and organisations such as Age UK for other assistance.
Vulnerable residents are often happier to engage with Fire and Rescue Services than health and social care agencies; this means firefighters can spot issues with people’s health and homes, and signpost or refer them to the relevant organisation for help and assistance.
Paul Hancock, CFOA President comments in the report: “I am proud to say that the Fire and Rescue Service has proven its ability to reach vulnerable members of our communities and help make real improvements to their health and well-being.
“The case studies in this report show that we have the skills, experience and methods to help reduce winter pressures and health conditions. Together with our health partners we can help make a difference to large numbers of people.”
Organisations which took part in the document includes: Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service; Fire Service Research and Training Trust; Dorset Fire and Rescue Service; Kent Fire and Rescue Service; Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service; Age UK; Care Navigators; Mental Health Social Services; Halton Housing Trust; Adult Social Care; Bournemouth Borough Council; Dorset County Council; Dorset Partnership for Older People Programme (POP)