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Wirral Falls Prevention Service: 2020 Update

The manager of Medequip’s Wirral Falls Prevention service, Julie Griffiths provides an update on all of the work that has been done so far throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Wirral Falls Prevention Service has striven to remain engaged with our client group throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mindful of the negative effects that reduced activity and resultant deconditioning can have on strength, mobility, confidence and independent living for our older population.

In place of our ‘Positive Steps’ education sessions and assessment clinics, we have provided telephone assessments. We have also increased our activity on social media to provide online falls prevention advice, and we are developing online exercise sessions. These are designed to be a simple start to exercising and so are accessible to most of our older population with as little risk as possible. We have started by demonstrating individual exercises, making early videos posted very short, as, until stamina builds up, this might be all that an individual can manage. By following a video demonstrating a full exercise session, progress is then encouraged.

We have also put together some “explainer videos” to demonstrate things such as ‘how to safely get up from the floor’, ‘good sit to stand techniques’, ‘back loosening exercises before getting out of bed’ among others. We are new to producing media, editing videos, and using Facebook for Business (On our Facebook page, we have been posting all of our videos, making it available to the public for free). Although we have been learning to do it all from scratch, we have had the help of Tom and Chris from our Media/Marketing department.

When shielding and lockdown ended, group sessions were still not possible, but we had both staff and clients were keen to engage in exercise programmes. The team donned their PPE aprons, face shields and gloves and visited clients at their homes to teach exercises programmes on a 1:1 basis. We continue with regular telephone support once exercises are taught, and we are working with our Age UK colleagues to continue with that support. We are also looking to support access to our online information through Age UK, who are running an android tablet loan scheme. Our falls prevention information booklet is now being distributed by Age UK volunteers, which have generated some self-referrals into the service.

We have also linked our Facebook and YouTube videos with our local authority online information page and produced an article for a local newspaper to broaden awareness of what we offer.

Our efforts to meet the challenges of finding alternative ways to provide a service during this pandemic are showing a positive outcome:

  • From the beginning of August, we have engaged with over 120 older people in our home exercise programme.
  • Clients are reporting that they are feeling the benefits of engaging with our service.
  • We have maintained an outcome of 78% of clients reporting that they had no further falls, 6 weeks after an intervention with Wirral Falls Prevention Service.
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