Best Use of Patient Experience award nominee
Community Rehabilitation and Falls Service, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
People who were at risk of falling over now have an improved quality of life thanks to community exercise classes run across Lambeth. They help people to build their strength and balance over 30 weeks, so they can do day-to-day activities safely – like walking, getting out of bed and standing up from a chair.
The community exercise classes have been part of a Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care project which aimed to design and test innovative methods to identify people at low risk of falling and provide them with support before their chances of falling increases. The project recently won the Health Service Journal Value in Healthcare award.
The project designed, tested and delivered innovative methods for early identification of those at risk that were effective, reliable and low cost, with a low rate (less than 7%) of inappropriate /false positives. Methods included marketing and triggers for self and carer referral, voluntary sector and non-health professional referral, via a public facing ‘strength and balance’ helpline.
The project introduced a telephone clinical triage system operated by non- qualified clinical assistants, without the need for an assessment by a physiotherapist. This was successful in directly allocating patients to the correct falls intervention almost 100% of the time. This showed the system was low cost, value for money and clinically safe.
The community exercise classes for primary prevention (1st fall) were expanded across the boroughs, to meet the new demand, with very positive outcomes:
- 76% of participants had improvements in one or more clinical measures (e.g. chair stand test, 180 degree turn and timed up and go)
- 75% of participants reported improvements in their quality of life, function and confidence
- No participants had injurious falls during the programme.
“I really enjoyed the classes and they helped me immensely – they really pushed me. Before the classes I was quite wobbly, but I think about how I walk now and am more steady and sturdy on my feet.”
“The classes were really fun. I’m much more confident now and much fitter than I was two years ago. Now I attend an over 55s club where we play table tennis, badminton and tennis."