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This week is National Falls Awareness Week (18th-22nd June) and community classes across Cumbria are working with elderly people to reduce the risk of falls.
Falls are a major cause of injury and death for over 70s, and account for more than 50% of hospital admissions. One in every three people aged 65 and over fall each year. Falls among the elderly cost the NHS £4.6m a day, and with the elderly population increasing this figure is set to rise.
Fall Management Programmes, provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, are designed to support those who have fallen, or who have a fear of falling. Stephanie Reid, Physiotherapist in Millom explains:
“A new Falls Management Programme has started in Millom recently, and has been very well received. We offer advice and education on how to avoid falls and what to do if you have fallen. The overall aim of the programme is to reduce the number of falls in the elderly community in Millom, and help as many people become as independent as possible. It runs once a week at the Bradbury Centre (Age UK). The exercises we give people help improve their strength and balance, and patients are given a home exercise to complete.”
Falls Management Programmes are available in other areas of the county including Whitehaven and Keswick.
In Barrow physiotherapists are using Falls Awareness Week to promote their Falls Awareness Programme as well as talk to the public about the importance of taking falls seriously. They will have a stall at Forum 28 in Barrow from 10am-2pm on Wednesday 20th June, alongside Age UK.
In Cockermouth Age UK are running an event on 19th June at 6pm at Victoria Hall in Cockermouth. Cockermouth GP and Director of Integration Dr John Howarth will be talking to local people about falls, alongside Community Physiotherapist Tanya Coates.
In Carlisle the Falls Strategy has recently been reviewed and updated to ensure as many falls as possible are prevented. Staff are undergoing training, and patient/carer information is continuously being improved.
Jackie Rigby, Professional Patient Safety Lead for Cumbria Partnership, said:
“Reducing falls is everybody’s business, so we will be improving current training on falls for staff at the frontline whilst seeking to raise awareness with all staff groups and families of how falls may be caused and prevented.
Alongside our monthly analysis of falls incidents we will also be taking part in a national scheme called the Safety Thermometer which will gather data on falls in both inpatient and community settings across the organisation.”
If you feel as though you, or a friend/family member, would benefit from support with falls please visit your GP. For more information about physiotherapy in Cumbria please visit http://www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/physiotherapy-service.htm.