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   Falls: Good Practice



Gathering exercise for Good Practice

Stockport Wiltshire
Stockport 2 Solihull
South Bedfordshire Derby

Area of Home Safety: Falls Prevention

Title: Older Inpatients’ Falls Support and Prevention Education Programme

Lead Agency: Age Concern Stockport
Steering group established consisting of representatives from Health, Social Services and Health Promotion. Other partners include the older inpatients on the wards and Stepping Hill Hospital Staff.

Aim/Purpose: To raise the awareness of Stockport residents aged 60+ of the causes of falls, to encourage the patients to consider the risks they may be facing in their present lifestyle and thereby enable them to make informed choices about addressing those risks.

Target Audience: Older inpatients at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport

Description: The project offers a falls support and prevention education service to older inpatients at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport. A Falls Support worker is employed throughout the project to visit older people on the wards, then with the support of the senior ward sister on duty, identify vulnerable patients who would benefit from this service. The worker then approaches the patient and offers the falls support service. If possible group sessions are then held on the wards and practical assistance is available if required such as the fitting of smoke detectors, grab rails and carbon monoxide alarms by a handyman recruited by the scheme.

Messages relating to the importance of muscle strength, foot care, exercise, good practice regarding medication, regular health check ups and precautions to take should a fall occur all feature in the programme. Patients will also be given information about local services that are available once they are discharged from hospital and post-discharge support is offered to the most vulnerable patients via referrals.

Impact: It is estimated that an average of 8 patients a day can be seen, totalling 1100 people who would benefit from this service in a year.

Evaluation: Those taking part in the programme are asked to complete a feedback form detailing how helpful they perceived the practical help to be, the style of delivery of the service and the relevance of information.

Records are also kept of inpatients both receiving the service and not receiving any help. Both these groups will then be tracked for future attendance at A & E and the nature of their attendance to help monitor the effectiveness of the project.

Costs/Funding: £51,835 obtained from the DTI Modernisation fund.

Contact/More Information:
Paul Green
Project Manager
Tel: 0161 419 5238

Area of Home Safety: Falls Prevention

Title: As Time Goes By - Drama

Lead Agency: Stockport MBC
Age Concern - Stockport, Brookdale Theatre, The Arts Team - Romiley Forum.

Aim/Purpose: A play to increase knowledge and trigger discussion among older people and their carers on how to prevent accidents in the home. The play also provided information on how to gain access to local health services and Social Services.

Target Audience: Older people and their carers living in the Stockport area.

Description: The play ‘As Time Goes By’ was launched at Stockport Town Hall in September 2000. It aimed to show how older people could prevent falls in the home and raise awareness of Council and other services, which could help older people cope in the aftermath of an accident.

The story of the play centred on Kath, a 77-year-old widow who suffered a fall and subsequent hip operation. Fearful of losing her much valued independence she stubbornly refused all offers of assistance from both health and social services. As the play develops Kath regains her independence by the acceptance of help and changes in her lifestyle.

At the end of the play members of the audience received a ‘goody-bag’ of information about issues and services mentioned in the production.

The cast consisted of members of the Brookdale Theatre from Bramhall who donated their time free of charge. The script was purchased from the London Borough of Barnet and the play was co-ordinated by the Public Health Team of Stockport MBC and Age Concern Stockport.

Impact: Between September 2000 and August 2001, 12 performances took place around the borough. Performances took place at Over 50s clubs, church halls and at the Brookdale Theatre in Stockport. The play was also performed at The Institute for the Blind as a radio play where it was very well received.

Evaluation: Members of the audience were asked to complete a quick questionnaire on the day of the performance. Approximately four weeks after the performance a more detailed interview was carried out with volunteers from the audience.

Overall 95% of those that took part in the evaluation said that they had enjoyed the play and 92% reported that the play increased their awareness of dangers in the home.

Costs/Funding: Financial assistance for the play was obtained from Stockport Council’s Arts Team. For further information about costs/ funding please contact the project organiser.

Contact/More Information:
Joan Lomas
Stockport MBC
Telephone 0161 474 4205.

Area of Home Safety: Falls Prevention

Title: Home Safe Home

Lead Agency: South Bedfordshire District Council
Age Concern Bedford, Bedfordshire Accident Prevention Group - Sub Group for Older People.

Aim/Purpose: To contribute to the reduction of the number of falls amongst the over 75’s living within South Bedfordshire.

Target Audience: Over 75’s living within South Bedfordshire. Clients must be experiencing one or more of the following - Postural Hypotension, prescribed Sedatives, Impaired limb strength or mobility or 4+ prescribed drugs.

Description: To carry out a free home safety risk assessment for over 75’s living in the South Bedfordshire district. Following the assessment clients can be fitted with the following pieces of equipment if required - energy light bulbs, letterbox basket, 10 year smoke alarm, carpet gripper, carbon monoxide detector, electric plug handles, handi socket extension, stair rails, helping hand, non-slip bath mats and bags for walking frames. Items of equipment are fitted and supplied free of charge to all clients via the Age Concern Handyperson Scheme.

Clients are referred to the scheme through a variety of health professionals and community workers within the South Bedfordshire area.

Impact: 250 homes visited by August 2002.

Evaluation: Evaluation of the scheme to take place by October 2002, for more details please contact the project organiser.

Costs/Funding: The overall project cost was £50,126. Funding was obtained from the DTI Modernisation fund 2001/2002.

Contact/More Information:
Michelle Compton
Telephone: 01582 474046

Using Socket Extension Using Handi-reacher

Area of Home Safety: Falls Prevention

Title: Falls Prevention for Older People through Differentiated Physical Activity Provision

Lead Agency: Wiltshire Health Promotion Service
Wiltshire Physical Activity Group, District Councils in Wiltshire, Wiltshire Leisure Centres, Wiltshire Housing Associations, Wiltshire and Swindon NHS Trust.

Aim/Purpose: To provide differentiated, community based physical activity and falls prevention opportunities for older people who have fallen or who are at risk of falling.

Target Audience: Older people living in the Wiltshire area who have fallen or who are at risk of falling

Description: The project delivers physical activity classes specifically designed to reduce the risk of falling. Fully trained health and leisure professionals deliver classes. Key elements of the programme are exercises aimed at muscle strengthening, balance and co-ordination, bone loading, increasing flexibility and stamina. Participants receive 45-60 minutes of group instruction during each session and there are approximately 14 people per class.

Following classes, participants are given a staged and progressive home exercise pack, which is given to enable participants to carry on exercises at home. There are also opportunities for participants to take part in other physical activities such as local health walks.

Impact: 200 people.

Evaluation: Participants are initially evaluated by two functional tests during the exercise session to assess physical ability. They also complete a questionnaire at the end of the session. The scheme has also set up focus groups in which participants are invited to give their views about the exercise classes.

Costs/Funding: £45,000 obtained from DTI Modernisation Fund.

Contact/More Information:
Clive Gray
Wiltshire Health Promotion Service
Telephone 01249 454270

Examples of Exercise Classes

Area of Home Safety: Falls Prevention

Title: ’80 Not Out’ Drama Production (Video and script)

Lead Agency: Solihull Primary Care Trust.
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Retired Health Visitors, Older volunteers from local amateur dramatic groups.

Aim/Purpose: The drama highlights with both tact and humour some of the common dangers in the home with practical steps to avoid them. Areas included are:

  • Bogus callers/intruders
  • Falls - how to get up from a fall
  • Home maintenance
  • Medication
  • Keeping safe and independent

Target Audience: Older people and their carers.

Description: Solihull Primary Care Trust has taken a new approach to raising awareness of accident prevention amongst older people through the use of drama. ’80 Not Out’ is a short play written by Carolyn Lindsay, Specialist Health Visitor Accident Prevention from Solihull Primary Care Trust and Margaret Fulford a retired Health Visitor. The play involves actors from local Amateur Dramatic groups who volunteered to take part.

The play uses a light-hearted storyline to highlight key safety messages as well as giving information about accident and crime prevention. The play has been touring older persons groups across the Solihull Borough from 1999 - 2001. Additional funding received in August 2001 enabled a video of the play to be produced. The video will be available for older persons groups and staff working with older people in Solihull to hire. The script and video are available for people outside the Borough of Solihull to purchase (see below).

Impact: The play has been performed for nearly 900 older people in Solihull.

Evaluation: The play has been very well received by all of the audiences. Some of the comments from members of the NHS retirement fellowship included “There should be more plays like yours on TV to make people more aware, congratulations”. That awful mat, those dangerous slippers. I will clear many things out now!”

Costs/Funding: Shirley Round Table gave £200 to support the printing of the scripts for the cast and pay expenses for the volunteer cast.
Many of the props for the play were provided free of charge by local shops.
Cost of Video Production - £1000 (Donated by Solihull MBC from older volunteer grant).

Contact/More Information: The script is available to purchase for £10 including postage. A video of the play is now available to purchase for £20 including postage and packing.

Carolyn Lindsay
Specialist Health Visitor Accident Prevention
Solihull Primary Care Trust
Union Road

Telephone - 0121 712 8376
Email -

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Area of Home Safety: Falls

Title: Joint Strategy for the Prevention of Falls in Older People.

Lead Agency: North Derbyshire Health Authority

Partners: Health Promotion, Local Authorities, PCTs, PCG, community pharmacists, leisure centres, Chinese College, voluntary and community groups.

Aim/Purpose: The development and implementation of community based programmes designed to prevent falls occurring. The development and implementation of a multi agency approach to the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of all at risk individuals in order to prevent further falls.

Target Audience: All people over the age of 50. This includes the fit elderly (over 75's) and very elderly (over 80's).
People who have fallen.
All age groups 50+
Women who have an early menopause (under 45) - links to the Osteoporosis Strategy.
People with steroid induced osteoporosis - links to the Osteoporosis Strategy.
People with low fragility fracture - links to the Osteoporosis Strategy.
People in residential/nursing homes.
People prescribed four or more medications.
People who have visual impairment.

Description: The strategy will build on current provision across all agencies. The focus will initially be secondary prevention and aimed at the over 75's age group. The strategy will involve:

  • the development and implementation of a programme of training awareness for all relevant staff;
  • the development and implementation of a standard risk assessment tool;
  • the provision of physical activity programmes for the less active and frail older persons (e.g., Tai chi and chair-based exercise);
  • the provision of information, and accessible and affordable evidence-based physical activity opportunities available in North Derbyshire.

Impact: As the programme is in its infancy, no data is available on the potential impact as yet.

Evaluation: Evaluation will be carried out mainly through the Health Improvement Programme and will be reported to the Director of Public Health.

Costs/Funding: Funding of the programme will come from a variety of sources, for example the Health Promotion service.

Contact/More Information: Sandra Johnson, North Derbyshire Health Authority. Tel: 01246 231255,

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Last update: 29 March 2004