The following extract is a newspaper article about the importance of good footwear and in particular slippers. The importance of good slippers was deemed so valuable that a project was funded to subsidise the cost of good slippers. We urge you to have a look at the type of slippers your older relations wear and consider having a chat with them about why they need to consider a more sturdy style. Primary prevention of falls can make such a hugely positive impact on not only an older persons life, on the life of the carer or wider family who need to support that person after they fracture a wrist or hip and to the cost to our NHS of treating that person after an avoidable injurious falls.


‘Sloppy slipper’ scheme cuts old people’s falls

Helene Mulholland

Tue 23 Dec 2003 

A scheme to bin “sloppy slippers” has helped reduce falls among older people by 60%, according to a pioneering primary care trust.

Easington primary care trust was one of three pilot sites to benefit from a £75,000 Department of Health grant to tackle the number of falls among older people in its area, as part of the national service framework for older people.

Using a team of elderly community volunteers, the trust found that “sloppy slippers” were responsible for a number of falls.

Department of Health figures reveal that up to 14,000 people a year die in the UK as a result of a hip fracture and that 50% of older people who fall can no longer live independently.

The NHS spends £1.7bn a year on treating fractures from falling.

Les Gray, development manager for the national service framework for older people at Easington, said: “We looked at the research around the reasons why people fall and footwear was one of the reasons, with slippers being probably the worst offender.

“The reason that shop-bought slippers tend to be so poor is because they have very thin soles and flap about and people tend to stand on the back of them.”

The primary care trust negotiated a 75% discount – from £20 to £5 – on slippers with fastenings and strong soles that provide enough support to reduce the risk of tripping and slipping.

Around 100 pairs of slippers were distributed to residents in two local nursing homes, and staff were asked to monitor falls.

The slipper swap proved a “huge success”, said a spokesperson, with nursing homes reporting a significant drop in accidents.

Other initiatives adopted by the trust included providing inexpensive night-lights to help reduce the number of people who fall when getting up in the night.

A pilot site in Northampton introduced free tai chi classes to help older people improve their strength and balance.

The three pilot sites, which also include Gateshead, reported a combined drop of 60% in falls treated at local accident and emergency departments compared with the previous year.

The Health Minister, Stephen Ladyman, said: “Falls are bad news all round. Bad news for older people and bad news for the NHS. We can do an enormous amount to avoid them and a lot of it is just plain common sense.”

Detailed guidance on the prevention of falls by older people is being prepared by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

A detailed guidance and a consensus statement was developed in England and in Scotland we are working with the Scottish Government on developing a strategy that will focus on prevention but progress is very slow.

As we hurtle towards 2020 we know that there will simply not be public money, now or in the foreseeable future, to funds schemes like the Sloppy Slipper Scheme so we urge families to do what they can to make sure their elderly loved ones have a pair of slippers that will not endanger them.

It will also be down to families to look at the wider home environment and what to look out for to keep people safer longer.