Your comments: 17 January 2018

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Standing up for falls awareness

We are well aware of the huge cost to the NHS and of the advice given regarding falls prevention. However, it seems this is mostly aimed towards the frail elderly, even though fit and active older people are still falling in alarming numbers. So what are we missing? 
Using information gathered at a recent Retirement Association event and elsewhere, we ask the CSP to target fit and active people aged from 55 to 80 through education and raising falls awareness.
Members of the CSP Retirement Association recently met some third-year York St John University students to explore issues relating to falls. A number of fit and active retired delegates told stories about their last fall and why it happened. The best story came from a retired headmaster, aged 87. He gave way to a young mum with a pram in the town centre but fell on uneven ground as he stepped off the pavement. His courtesy, coupled with a moment’s reduced awareness, cost the NHS at least £1,000.
  • Judith Saunders, chair, CSP Retirement Association
CSP assistant director Sara Hazzard responds:‘This fits well with our goals for 2018: campaigning around Older People’s Day, promoting public health more widely and planned activities on falls prevention.’ 

Placement heaven

I am excited about my elective, four-week practice placement with Alzheimer Scotland. This placement is ‘role-emerging’ as the role of physiotherapy in mental health is evolving, and conditions such as dementia are often misunderstood. 
This placement will grant me the opportunity to establish what physiotherapeutic interventions can offer people with dementia and how this relates to my continued professional development.
It is important for students to seek out non-traditional placements in order to develop interpersonal, leadership and management skills while expanding their scope of practice. Physios play an invaluable role in improving the quality of life for people with dementia, such as by supporting them to maintain mobility and prevent falls. Participating in physical activity has remarkable benefits in dementia by improving cognition and mood. 
As people with dementia can find it difficult to express distress and pain, physios must be competent communicators.
This modern placement will also allow me to critically evaluate my clinical reasoning and refine my professional identity within a diverse multidisciplinary team. Ultimately, it will enable me to develop new expertise and emphasise the value of physiotherapy for people with dementia in a way that enhances service delivery. 
  • Rory Higgins, Glasgow Caledonian University

Good old days 

I write in response to the ‘Keeping it in the family’ feature that appeared in the 3 January issue of Frontline .
I also worked in the 1970s and was privileged to have a fairly free rein on treatments. Good liaison with well-founded arguments allowed us this freedom. Support from our superintendent was paramount and results mattered. The rheumatologists were the only prescriptive doctors but, again, with good discussion and reasoned arguments they, too, allowed us to treat as we thought appropriate.
Perhaps we were lucky, but the Royal Free Hospital in north London had a very forward-looking physiotherapy department and was well respected.
  • Cathy Harrington

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