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Falls prevention services

Programmes are offered in Waikato and Taranaki.

The Waikato strength and balance service aims to decrease the incidence and severity of falls in older adults by improving their strength and balance, increasing function and confidence and maintaining their long-term independence. 

About the community group strength and balance classes - Strong and Stable

  • Strong and Stable classes include a mix of standing, seated and moving exercises (options are provided depending on ability) and are available in every Waikato town.
  • A minimal cost (between $2-$5) will be charged to attend the weekly classes which will be discussed with the person when contacted by the service.
  • Strong and Stable classes are run by trained, supported and monitored leaders and are approved by exercise providers for community strength and balance.
  • Participants work at their own pace.
  • A non-threatening assessment is completed every 12 weeks to allow participants to see improvements.
  • The social element is an important part of all classes. 

About the in-home service

  • This in-home service provides individually designed home exercise visits, delivered by a qualified health professional.
  • Those eligible for the service will have an initial visit to assess and develop the programme, then up to four follow up visits, with a final visit and reassessment at 12 months when an outcome summary will be provided to their GP. 
  • Equipment and referrals to relevant agencies will be provided as required.

Who's eligible?

Patients are eligible for community classes if they are: 
  • aged 65 years and older living within the Waikato DHB boundary and meet criteria for publicaly funded health services
  • able to get to and participate in weekly classes (with chair support and seated options)
  • aged 50-65 years can be referred if they meet the criteria and there are activities the person has stopped doing because they are afraid they might lose their balance, they worry about falling, and they use a mobility aid (primarily for outside assistance). 

Patients are eligible for the in-home programme if they:  
  • are aged 75 years and older living within the Waikato DHB boundary and meet criteria for publicly funded health services
  • are identified as too frail to safely leave home to attend a class
  • have had at least one fall in the past 90 days
  • are reliant on a walking frame inside and around the home, unable to stand in balance with feet together and turn their head from side to side or unable to stand from a chair without assistance from another person
  • are Māori or Pacific people aged 65 years and older and meet the criteria.

These services are not suitable for:
  • people in rest home or hospital care
  • people living dependently in an aged care facility
  • people with severe cognitive impairment.

How to refer

  • GPs and urgent care services can refer via e-referral.
  • The Waikato strength and balance service will determine who will benefit most from the in-home programme or community group classes. 
  • The referrer can indicate their appropriate service recommendation along with the clinical indicators supporting this. A further service stability assessment will be carried out with the person over the phone. 
  • Discretion will be used at triage regarding lack of transport or no local classes available as a reason for the in-home service.


For more information about the programme, contact MidCPG Waikato falls prevention project manager Steph McLennan:
027 419 0068 or  


About the service

  • The Taranaki falls prevention service (FPS), a partnership between Pinnacle MHN, Taranaki DHB and ACC, was launched mid-2017 and is now well established across the region.
  • The service provides frail elderly in the region with access to a free year-long in-home strength and balance programme.
  • It is led by a falls prevention therapist and a falls prevention assistant working as part of the Pinnacle MHN Taranaki multidisciplinary team (MDT).
  • Those eligible for the service have an initial visit, then a follow-up at two, four and eight weeks; six months; 12 months; as well as phone calls and extra visits if required. Each time we visit participants we go over prescribed exercises and do some tests to gauge strength and balance improvement.
  • The service was primarily established in response to the number of unplanned hospitalisation rates due to frail elderly having falls. People aged 75 years old and over comprise of 7.5 per cent of the Taranaki population, however unplanned hospitalisation rates for older people amount to nearly 4,790, or 26 per cent.
  • The aim of the FPS is to improve care within the primary care setting to reduce hospitalisation. Prior to this service being up and running in Taranaki, there was no service to proactively prevent falls.
  • A community strength and balance programme is being co-ordinated by Sport Taranaki.

Who's eligible?

Patients are eligible for a free falls assessment with their GP if they are:
  • Aged 75 years and older (or like age) and enrolled with a Pinnacle MHN general practice
  • Māori, Asian and Pacific Island people aged 65-74 years older (or like age) and enrolled with a Pinnacle MHN general practice

How to refer

General practice provides a key point of access to the FPS. Practices across the Taranaki region are currently screening, assessing and referring eligible patients to the in-home programme. To refer:

  • Complete the Pinnacle MHN Community MDT e-referral. Under the 'clinical details' tab please tick 'include screening results', and ensure falls assessment is included..

Success stories


For more information about the programme, contact Taranaki regional services coordinator Sarah Wood: 027 687 7309 or

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