Active House Solutions is celebrating the success of its WellBalanced falls prevention programme in Sussex. The public health consultancy has demonstrated 75% of its participants are continuing to exercise, whilst 80% improved or maintained their strength and balance after completing the twenty-four week programme.
Active Health Solutions employed ReferAll’s online exercise referral software solution when they took ownership of the falls prevention programme in July 2017. It has proved crucial not only to maintaining the security of their sensitive patient data but also in reducing administration time.
Debbie Beesley, Customer Experience & Marketing Director at Active House Solutions, said: “People aged sixty-five and over have the highest risk of falling: around a third of people fall at least once a year. This figure is around half for those aged eighty and over. Falling is a cause of distress, pain and injury and leads to loss of both confidence and independence. The NHS reported in 2017 that the total cost for falls among older people could be estimated at around two billion pounds. The outlook for patients following falls is also poor: in the first year following a hip fracture, there is an increased mortality of between eighteen and thirty-three per cent.
“However, this is not simply a problem associated with a fall, it is what happens after that reduces their quality of life and potentially inhibits their lifestyle: the beginning of a downward spiral of social isolation. Running our WellBalanced classes not only saves the NHS money by reducing falls but also has a huge social impact for the older community by ensuring their continued enjoyment of life.”
Run in collaboration with People for Places Leisure (PfPL) and Mid Sussex Wellbeing, the WellBalanced programme is a community-based falls prevention programme for the frail and elderly at risk of falling. The course consists of balance and strengthening exercises, designed to reduce the risk of falls. Commissioned by Mid Sussex District Council, the programme costs participants just one pound per class, with patients being referred to the classes by local hospitals, GPs or Practice Nurses. The classes take place in Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath.
All programme participants complete functional assessment, such as the four-stage balance test, as well as wellbeing questionnaires at the start, at twelve and twenty-four weeks to measure their progress and evaluate their future risk of falls.
Beesley commented: “The superior functionality of ReferAll’s software means we can track any participant at any time throughout the programme. This, alongside the reporting feature, is crucial as we are ‘publicly’ funded by Mid Sussex Wellbeing. It means we need to provide evaluation reports to evidence the impact of the falls prevention programme. With ReferAll we can all input into the participant’s records and every touch point is recorded: all the information is securely held in one place. By using one system, rather than lots of spreadsheets, we have saved admin hours too.
“However, it is our participants’ feedback that make us really proud: many of our participants say the classes make them ‘feel good’. One man in his sixties said he found it ‘absolutely super’. Most importantly, they are encouraged to go out and get active, exercising daily. We are now hoping to grow our programmes by collaboratively working with PfPL to refer people from our WellBalanced classes to its Exercise on Referral programme and vice a versa.”