View Full Version : Groups hope to prevent falls

26-Mar-13, 10:36
Over a thousand admitted to hospital each year

TWO new groups have been formed in the far north to address a problem that’s been given high priority by NHS Highland – falls prevention.
And it’s hoped that they will serve as pilots which will in time be replicated in other communities in the area.
The new groups meet weekly in Reay Village Hall, where they are organised by the North Coast Leisure Centre, Bettyhill, and in Tongue, where they are run by North Coast Connection.
Now, it is planned to form similar groups in Durness and Strathy, and perhaps in other communities too.
The new groups have been supported by NHS Highland, through community development manager Andrea Madden, and have benefited from 1,000 from the health authority’s Change Fund. The organisation Later Life Training, which specialises in providing exercise training for health and leisure professionals, has provided its expertise.
Patrick Gray, North Coast Leisure’s development manager, explained: “We are looking to create a centre of excellence for physical therapy, such as by offering rehabilitation facilities and hydrotherapy, and the falls prevention work is part of that.”
Initially offering chair-based exercises, the groups have gone on to use Otago, a strength and exercise programme for frailer older people developed in New Zealand which has been shown to lead to a significant reduction in the incidence of falls.
Andrea Madden said: “We are delighted to be able to support falls prevention work like this in a community setting. The group is attracting good numbers of people who I am sure will benefit from the gentle exercise classes that Otago offer.”
It’s been calculated that each year in NHS Highland’s area around 1,150 people are admitted to hospital after a fall.
The issue was highlighted in the most recent annual report by NHS Highland’s director of public health, Dr Margaret Somerville, who said: “The increase in older population, combined with the high rate of falls admissions in the very oldest people, mean that work on falls prevention remains a high priority.”
In 2011-12, people aged over 65 who were admitted to NHS Highland hospital after a fall accounted for no fewer than 29,000 bed days, representing around 80 occupied beds a day.
Dr Somerville said: “NHS Highland is working hard on falls prevention initiatives and it’s great that individuals, organisations and community groups throughout our area are doing likewise. We all have a role to play in helping to tackle what is a very real problem.”