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How to implement effective falls prevention programmes

Falls Free logoFalls Prevention Awareness Day is run every year by the National Council on Aging. To date, it has included participation from 47 states within the US, as well as the District of Colombia. This year it will run on 21st September with the theme ‘Strong Today, Falls Free Tomorrow’. In preparation for the launch of Falls Prevention Awareness Day, a webinar was held on 21 August to share best practice examples and information about implementing comprehensive approaches to falls prevention.

Topics included:

  • What’s new in falls prevention programming and what’s working in communities nationwide
  • How organisations are integrating falls prevention programming into their other offerings
  • Tested strategies to recruit older adult participants, including those from hard-to-reach populations
  • Exciting new initiatives that partner with emergency medical services, community health workers and others

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Journal of Aging and Health logoResearch at the University of Michigan has shown significant differences in falls risk between older adults of different ethnic origin.

Using data on falls incidence and frequency from the Health and Retirement Study from 2000 to 2010, the study followed nearly 10,500 African American, Latino and non-Hispanic older adults and concluded that older African Americans are 24% less likely to fall than white older adults.

While no definitive conclusions have been drawn to account for this, previous research suggests that it could be down to cultural differences and extended family households, which provide more support to older parents and grandparents, and therefore avoidance of fall-related scenarios and behaviours.

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Age and Ageing: Timed Up and Go test results in patients found through general practice falls risk screening. Preliminary evaluation of the North Tyneside Falls Prevention Service (NTFPS)An innovative approach to falls risk assessment within primary care, and using a voluntary-service led exercise intervention, shows significant results in reducing Timed Up and Go scores.

Timed Up and Go test results in patients found through general practice falls risk screening. Preliminary evaluation of the North Tyneside Falls Prevention Service (NTFPS).

Introduction: Falls are a major health and health economic burden but case ascertainment remains inadequate. The NTFPS was developed to proactively screen for falls risk factors in primary care. We present data from the Service’s strength and balance training classes run with Age UK North-Tyneside.

Methods: General practice case notes of those >60 years are screened for falls risk factors and syncope. Patients excluded if known to existing services. Screening questionnaire sent and those at risk invited to attend comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment per NICE guidelines.

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Hip fracture: the patient perspective

Age and Ageing: A pilot study of patients experiences of hip fractureThis research by Jennison, Porter and Rankin looks at the patient experience of hip fracture. It highlights some important considerations in terms of the emotional repercussions and expectations of treatment and recovery.

A pilot study of patients experiences of hip fracture

Introduction: Hip fractures cause significant morbidity and mortality in the elderly population. There are over 75′000 per year in the UK. Despite this, there has been little research on patients’ views and experiences of hip fractures. This was highlighted as an area where further research was required in the NICE guidelines for hip fractures. The aim of this study was to assess patients’ experiences of their hip fractures and hip fracture management.

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British Geriatrics Society Educational EventsThis annual event is widely recognised as the leading meeting in the UK for clinicians working in the field of falls and mobility medicine. The day provides a forum for scientific discussion and clinical updates and enables a multidisciplinary audience of over 200 professionals to share their experiences of best clinical practice.

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Intravenous osteoporosis treatment offered at home

Age and Ageing: Innovative intravenous osteoporosis at home serviceA study by Marshall, Wong and Sahota explores the possibility of delivering an intravenous zolendronic acid at home service, and shows great results in terms of patient satisfaction and cost effectiveness.

Innovative intravenous osteoporosis at home service

Background: Intravenous bisphosphonates are an attractive alternative to oral treatments, but usually require a day-hospital or day-case admission.

Service: This service is one of the first in the country. It is based around a contractual agreement with Healthcare at Home, one of the UK’s largest home healthcare providers. The patient pathway comprises of assessment in the outpatient clinic, consent and routine blood tests. A prescription is then sent to Healthcare at Home, who administered the 1st and subsequent infusions, directly in the patient’s home, within 4 weeks. A system re-call ensured appropriate follow up.

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European Public Health Conference logoMind the gap: Reducing inequalities in health and healthcare
19 – 22 November 2014
Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

EUPHA Section Injury prevention and safety promotion in collaboration with ProFouND and EuroSafe present the pre-conference:

Falls Prevention: Evidence into practice
Wednesday 19 November 2014

This European Seminar aims to give participants the knowledge and skills needed to operate an evidence-based approach to falls and fall-related injury prevention among seniors. Participants will also learn about current effective programs from members of the ProFouND partnership, and the reliability and validity of existing resources and tools for screening and assessing fall risk. The seminar will also provide insight into how to involve seniors as partners in the development of effective strategies and interventions.

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Age and Ageing: Does a lack of physician awareness underlie the fragility fracture prevention care gap? This research by Ghorani, Rajagopal and Suresh looks at how well the recently updated national guidelines for assessment of osteoporosis and risk of falls in the UK are being implemented.

Introduction: National guidelines for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures (OPFs) have recently been updated with clinical risk assessment algorithms such as the WHO fracture risk assessment tool (FRAX). However, national audit evidence suggests suboptimal rates of risk assessment and under-utilisation of anti-osteoporotic agents (AOPs) for at risk patients (Royal College of Physicians 2010). We set out to investigate whether this care gap persists and hypothesise that a lack of physician awareness underlies it.

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Shirley and the BodybuilderWatch this story about an inspirational older woman, Shirley Friedman from New York, and hear about her journey into the world of exercise. A tale of personal achievement, but perhaps also one of best practice when it comes to tailoring strength and balance exercise programmes to suit needs, progression and adherence.

At the tender age of 90 years old, Shirley joined a Manhattan gym run by 44 year-old Martin Luther King Addo, a former winner of the Mr Ghana Bodybuilding Championships. In her own words, Shirley describes how she went from no previous physical training to doing squat exercises and joining Addo’s bootcamp – a commitment of no less than three sessions a week. In the process she also overcame her fear of falling.

Click here to watch the video.

Colder temperatures can increase risk of falls

Age and Ageing: Effect of cold indoor environment on physical performance of older women living in the communityThis study by Lindemann et al draws attention to an important public health problem, which can increase the risk of falls among older women: colder temperatures.

Effect of cold indoor environment on physical performance of older women living in the community

Background: the effects of cold on older persons’ body and mind are not well documented, but with an increased number of older people with decreasing physical performance, these possible effects need to be understood.

Objective: to investigate the effect of cold indoor environment on physical performance of older women.

Subjects: eighty-eight community-dwelling, cognitively unimpaired older women (mean age 78 years).

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ProFaNE.co has long term associations with AgeUK, NOS, BGS, LLT and ProFouND and is proud to be part of the NoS and AgeUK Falls and Fractures Alliance.