Helping people to recover from falls faster

Eric Hayes does his physio exercises at home

The East Kent Community Rehabilitation Team at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust is helping people in Dover and Deal to recover from falls quicker, thanks to a new way of working.

The team offers assessments and interventions at home for people who have fallen or are at risk of falling. They found that following an initial screening assessment, some clients were waiting extended periods for additional physiotherapy sessions.

For this reason, they decided to try a new way of working. It involves senior therapy assistants trained in falls prevention techniques, to occupational therapists and advanced support workers, completing initial screening assessments and then placing people directly onto a four-week falls programme.

Rehab support workers visit client homes once a week, to make sure people can do the exercises and are doing them properly and to see if they have any concerns. Client progress is monitored and reviewed regularly by occupational therapists and physiotherapists

The team surveyed clients to ask what they thought and all said they were all satisfied with the care they received.

Eric Hayes, 73, of Sandwich, (pictured below), did the programme. He said: “I cannot fault the service. A lady called Sarah came to see me once a week, for four weeks. She assessed what help I needed and then we worked through some exercises together with Sarah right beside me the whole time, in case I fell down.

“She was light-hearted and friendly and if there was an exercise I wasn’t too sure about, we went back to it later. I carried on with the exercises myself between visits and after she stopped coming and I have really noticed the difference. She also phoned me once the programme had finished, to see how I was getting on. Sarah and the programme were marvellous!”

Eric Hayes doing his exercises

Tony Dyer, 81, of Dover, also did the falls programme. He said: “Thank you for coming to my house and going through my exercises with me. It is definitely helping.

“I had a couple of falls while playing bowls and one time I ended up with fractured ribs and another with a cracked vertebrae. A senior therapy assistant, came to my home and assessed me. It was suggested someone could come round once a week, for four weeks and guide me on how to do exercises which would help. The programme has definitely worked for me and I’ve carried on the exercises since. I enjoy doing them and do them twice a day, sometimes even three times.

“The service was very good and very thorough and I’ve been able to talk about losing my confidence with going out too. It’s something I’m working up to.”

The team used a quality improvement (QI) way of working. Their aim was to offer

 a standardised falls prevention home exercise and education programme to all patients identified as appropriate at the initial screening assessment by the Dover and Deal team, by January 2024.

They wanted to improve patient experience and to reduce the number of re-referrals to the service once patients had completed the programme. They have also improved communications with local GPs, sending discharge summaries one a patient has completed the programme and having regular multi-disciplinary meetings.

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