FIREFIGHTERS and pharmacists in Uttoxeter have joined forces as part of a pioneering pilot project to help people living with dementia stay safe at home.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has teamed up with South Staffordshire Pharmacy Committee to launch the trial aiming to boost the number of vulnerable people benefitting from a free Home Fire Risk Check (HFRC) by publicising the service to friends, family members and carers.
It involves four pharmacies in the area and will see people collecting prescriptions for those with mild or moderate forms of dementia encouraged to book a HFRC on behalf of the patient.
Eye-catching posters promoting the scheme have been put in the windows of participating chemists and pocket size leaflets featuring information on HFRCs will be stapled to prescription bags.
The pamphlets will be handed out to residents with four types of licensed drugs – Donepezil, Galantamine, Memantine or Rivastigmine.
People recognised as being ‘vulnerable’ may also be given the information and encouraged to book a check.
Glynn Luznyj, the fire service’s head of risk reduction, said: “We strongly believe that this pioneering pilot project will have a hugely positive impact on vulnerable people living within the community.
“Staffordshire, and the country as a whole, has an increasingly ageing population and the service we provide needs to reflect their needs. That is why we have joined forces with pharmacies across Uttoxeter to run this initiative.
“Communicating vital safety information to friends, relatives and carers of people with dementia is much more likely to bring about action that will make older people living in the community much safer.
“National research carried out by the Fire Kills Practitioners’ Group revealed that people aged 65 and above account for more than half of all deaths in accidental house fires.
“Simply by taking a few minutes out of your day to book a HFRC for an older person could have life-saving consequences.”
Pharmacist Tim Hames, who runs Balance Street Pharmacy, said it was an innovative scheme that the pharmacy was proud to be part of.
He said: “Experience tells us that residents with dementia who still live in their own homes receive a lot of help from their family and friends.
“They are the people who have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the needs of the patient and who are best equipped to arrange services for them.
“Focussing our resources on them and promoting the HFRCs when they pop in to the pharmacy will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the number of vulnerable people benefitting from this vital safety measure.”
People will be asked to give a specific code relating to the pilot scheme when booking a HFRC.
The pilot will be monitored over a six month period and its success will be assessed through the number of appointments made using the reference.
HFRCs are when crew members or trained technicians visit every room in a resident’s home and look for any potential fire hazards.
They also speak to people about their every day behaviour in the home and, using this information, try to identify anything that may increase the risk of a fire.
More information on HFRC is available by calling Freephone 0800 0241 999, texting 07528 983101 or visiting the website at www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp