Supporting nutrition, reducing falls and staying active in care homes

The Dietetic Service and Falls Co-ordinators have always done a lot of work with care homes in Edinburgh. Since the start of lockdown, they have responded to the changing needs of care homes and their residents. Falls Co-ordinator Jo Gordon and Lead Prescribing Support Dietitian Dr. Sinéad Bannon got in touch to tell us about some of the work that has been going on.

Supporting nutrition

Before the pandemic, our Prescribing Support Dietitians had trained  over 1200 care home staff in nutritional support for care home residents, completing work in over 60 care homes across NHS Lothian. As physical distancing meant it was no longer possible to deliver these sessions in person, the team created a video so care home staff could still complete the training. As well as the training video, The Prescribing Support Dietitians and wider community Dietetic Team are offering virtual nutritional support training sessions. These sessions give them the opportunity to give more tailored advice to care home staff, and give care home staff the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

A seated man in an NHS uniform wearing headphones and reading from a script. A woman sitting on a stool talking into a microphone

Louise Beveridge, Community Dietitian, with Richard Nettleton from Medical Photography, recording the “Nutritional Support in the Care Home” training video.

The Dietetic Team have also made some resources available to care home staff:

The Community Dietetic Service has remained open for business throughout lockdown. If you work in a care home, please continue to screen for malnutrition and refer patients for nutritional support.

Reducing Falls and Staying Active

The Edinburgh Falls Co-ordinators  support care home staff with:

  • encouraging residents to be physically active
  • reducing the risk of falls and managing falls if they happen.

With many residents being isolated to their rooms, changes in staffing, and the effects of COVID-19 itself, supporting residents to stay active has become more challenging for care homes than usual.

The Falls Co-ordinators have created a guide with useful links and helpful advice called Staying active and reducing the risk of falls in Edinburgh care homes during COVID-19

The Falls Co-ordinators have been offering supportive ‘Near Me’ video consultations to care home staff.  These calls can be to provide guidance across the care home relating to falls reduction and management, and helping residents stay active, and can be tailored to support individual residents.

Often care homes have excellent approaches already and a discussion helps reassure them that they are doing the best possible things.  Adopting a multidisciplinary approach linking with a wide range of specialists from across the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership is essential, as causes of falls and barriers to physical activity are multi-factorial.

The Near Me video consultations have been very successful with support provided to City of Edinburgh Council, voluntary sector and independent care homes across Edinburgh.  A senior care manager, after three calls about a resident who had been having multiple falls, said: ‘We have made really good progress in a short space of time’.

The Falls Co-ordinators look forward to continuing to support care homes over the coming months and learning about how multi-disciplinary support using video consultations can help care homes in the future.

3 women and a man taking part in a video call

David Walsh and Nicola White from Northcare Manor
taking part in a ‘Near Me’ video call with Occupational Therapist Heather Bainbridge and Falls Co-ordinator Jo Gordon

To find out more about reducing the risk of falls and supporting care home residents to stay active, contact: Jo.Gordon@nhslohtian.scot.nhs.uk