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Falls prevention services


Programmes are offered in Waikato, Taranaki and Tairāwhiti.

Waikato: community strength and balance

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. 
  • 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. 

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). 

This service is 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.

Waikato: in-home strength and balance

  • 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 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.

This service is 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.

Contact

For more information about the programme, contact MidCPG Waikato falls prevention project manager Steph McLennan: 027 419 0068 or steph@midcpg.co.nz.  

Taranaki: in-home strength and balance

  • 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 falls prevention service. 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

Contact

For more information about the programme, contact Taranaki regional services coordinator Sarah Wood: 027 687 7309 or sarah.wood@pinnacle.health.nz.


Tairāwhiti falls prevention

The falls clinic includes an assessment by a physician, physiotherapist, pharmacist, social worker, occupational therapist and falls prevention nurse. Given the new model provides for assessments in general practice, clinics have reduced from monthly to quarterly. For more information about Tairāwhiti falls prevention services contact Pinnacle MHN falls prevention nurse Kat Ngatai: kat.ngatai@pinnacle.health.nz or 027 602 6259.

Tairāwhiti: community strength and balance

  • Presbyterian Support East Coast (PSEC) is the lead agency in the Tairāwhiti area. Enliven, the service arm of PSEC that aims to maximise the independence of older people has the role of administering the community group strength and balance programme.
  • Aims to decrease the incidence and severity of falls in older adults by improving their strength and balance and maintaining their independence.
  • Providers of approved programmes meet nine evidence-based criteria for improving strength and balance. The classes vary in style, level of ability, time, cost and location. 
  • Classes with chair support, seated options, social and educational components are available.
  • View approved classes in the Tairāwhiti

Who is eligible?

People are eligible for community group strength and balance programme if they are:

  • aged 65 years and over, living in the Tairāwhiti District Health area
  • able to get to and participate in weekly classes
  • aged under 65 years who have slipped, tripped or fallen or are at risk of falling.

The programme is not suitable for:

  • people living dependently in aged care facilities or hospital care
  • those unable to leave their home due to medical conditions or very limited mobility.

How to refer

GPs can refer via e-referral. Once referred to the programme, Enliven will contact referrals with-in two working days to discuss what class options are available.

If more specific falls prevention exercise and activity advice is required, you can refer to the Green Prescription team, who can then provide advice on the appropriate exercise option for your patient.

Contact

For more information about the community group strength and balance programme, contact Enliven 0800 436 548 or enliven@psec.org.nz

Tairāwhiti: in-home strength and balance

  • Run by Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti
  • Based on the Otago exercise programme (a series of controlled trials of over 1,000 adults that found an overall 35 per cent reduction in falls following participation in the individualised strength and balance exercise program).
  • Administered by a physiotherapist who provides an individualised assessment of falls risk factors within the patient's home, develops a strength and balance exercise program and follows this with further home visits and phone support for up to twelve months.
  • Equipment and referrals to relevant agencies is provided as required.

Who is eligible?

People are eligible for the in-home strength and balance programme if they:

  • are over the age of 65 years for Māori and Pacific adults, or over the age of 75 years for non-Māori or Pacific adults
  • live independently within the community
  • have had a fall within the last twelve months
  • may have difficulty attending a community based strength and balance group exercise class.

How to refer


If more specific falls prevention exercise and activity advice is required, you can refer to the Green Prescription team, who can then provide advice on the appropriate exercise option for your patient.

Contact

For more information about the in-home strength and balance programme, contact in-home strength and balance physiotherapist Oka Sanerivi: okas@sportgisborne.org.nz or 868 9943 ext 723.

Tairāwhiti: fracture liaison service

The fracture liaison service is for people who have had an initial fracture and are at risk of a second or subsequent fracture if an intervention is not put in place to minimize the risk. 

Criteria

  • The person is aged >50-75 years.
  • This is a frailty fracture (a fracture occurring from minimal trauma such as a fall from standing height) 
  • This is NOT a fracture of hands, feet or skull. 
  • The person lives in the Tairawhiti DBH catchment area.

Referrals are generally received via the outpatients fracture clinic. For more information about the fracture liaison service contact Pinnacle MHN falls prevention nurse Kat Ngatai: kat.ngatai@pinnacle.health.nz or 027 602 6259.

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