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Falls prevention team wins HSJ award

27 June 2016 - 11:49am

A physiotherapy-led falls prevention team in South London has won an award for a project that helps older people to stay fit and remain in their own homes.

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Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust’s community rehabilitation and falls team. Photo: HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards

The community rehabilitation and falls team from Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust received a Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Award in Manchester on 24 May.

They triumphed in the value and improvement in community health service redesign category, in recognition of a project that has enhanced falls prevention in the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth.

Since 2014 the scheme has designed, tested and refined low cost methods of early identifying, triaging and fast-tracking exercise intervention for people who are at risk of falling among the boroughs’ combined population of 680,000 people.

Judith Hall, physiotherapy clinical lead, told Frontline: ‘We were thrilled to win the award, as we were one of 10 shortlisted organisations and our win demonstrates the value of allied health professionals and physiotherapists.

‘The project started as a pilot but based on a business case we prepared, and due to the potential savings that can be realised, the commissioners have funded it on an ongoing basis.’

Strength and balance classes

With support from Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care the programme has increased the capacity of the falls service and created an innovative referral and telephone triage process that uses non-qualified staff who are trained and supervised by physios.

In addition physios and exercise instructors now run more than 20 community based ‘strength and balance’ exercise classes in the community, and also provide one-to-one treatment in people's homes.

The 30-week programme aims to reduce falls, falls related ambulance calls, A&E attendances and fracture operations.

Patient outcomes from the project have shown that

  • 76 per cent of participants showed improvements in one or more clinical measures (chair stand test, 180 degree turn and timed up and go)
  • 75 per cent of participants reported improvements in their quality of life, function and confidence
  • No participants had injurious falls during the programme

The HSJ judging panel praised the team for being ‘resourceful and innovative in their approach to service delivery’.

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