StopFalls Exercise is having a real impact

Exercise classes are delivered by HCPA postural stability instructors Dan Marsh and Andrew Latimer.

Specialised exercise delivery for individuals living in care settings has a wide range of impact.

  • Increased well-being; service users have more confidence and so can enjoy involving themselves in more activities, while families get the pleasure of seeing their loved ones getting the most out of life and feeling more independent.
  • OTAGO exercises, which consist of a range of leg muscle-strengthening and balance retraining exercises. They are performed standing, with support, and progress in difficulty as ability improves.
  • Postural stability (PSI) or tai chi classes, which further improve strength and power along with reducing the number of falls and injuries from falls, are the next step.

For further details on what exercise is appropriate for your service please click here

Data gathered from 20-week long OTAGO and postural stability (PSI) classes delivered at the following flexicare and supported living care properties across the county shows the reduced falls risk from the beginning to the end.

There is an average falls risk reduction of 14 per cent at community sites as well as an increase in wellbeing, while the sessions also help to prevent social isolation.

In care homes that take part, there is an average falls risk reduction of five per cent, with other big wins in the shape of a stronger grip and increased confidence when standing up for at least 50% of the individuals taking part in sessions.

Postural Stability Exercises help to improve strength and balance.


HCPA use the Quantitative Timed Up and Go (QTUG) assessment device, which is nationally accredited by the NHS, to measure an individual’s falls risk before, during and after the course. It assesses their ability to stand from a seated position and vice versa, and measures the time taken to walk three metres.

QTUGS – Participants stand up, walk 5 metres, turn back and sit down.

Susan White, house manager at flexi care site Ermine Court in Ware, where service users have enjoyed PSI classes, said: “They do the assessments when they first start the course and again at the end, and everybody has had an improvement in their stability. When they are walking, there is less chance of them having a fall.

“I hear them talking about how good it is and how they feel better now. Even those using a walker or a frame feel more confident. It’s good all-round really.”

There are huge benefits when it comes to increased wellbeing; service users have more confidence and so can enjoy involving themselves in more activities, while families get the pleasure of seeing their loved ones getting the most out of life and feeling more independent.

There are also benefits for care providers, as more empowering care can be given to residents as they become more able. This leads to better self-management and reduces the amount of one-to-one support needed, as well as increasing the time available for engagement.

Ann Flowers, support lead managing the activity and engagement team at White House Nursing Home in Letchworth, said: “Some of our residents are more mobile and this has given one in particular extra confidence in terms of meeting people.

“Another lady used to sit in her room and not come out, but the chair-based exercises have given her more confidence on her feet and now she’s been out in the garden and come down for quizzes.

“Two ladies who use wheelchairs are much sturdier in their arms and legs now.

“We’ve had other chair-based exercises before, but in this particular class I’ve seen how it’s made a big difference.”

The sessions were also very well received at supported living care site Constance Place in Knebworth, with the residents really noticing how much they had benefited when the course came to an end.

This highlights the importance of HCPA securing further funding to offer more courses in the future to help keep individuals in this type of accommodation for longer before the need for full-time care.

HCC has limited funds, so HCPA needs support from other organisations and is attempting to secure funds from the likes of Sport England and the NHS.

“They had all improved and noticed how useful the sessions were as soon as they had stopped,” said Constance Place house manager Virginia Garvin.

“Dan is very friendly and not imposing, he respects what people can do and not do and helps them to gain confidence whilst trying.”


Posted on

September 14, 2018

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