A local stroke survivor with mobility problems has re-discovered her confidence and self motivation through an innovative ‘falls prevention’ service instructed by Slough Borough Council and the local Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dolly Bhaskaran (age 64) from Langley is taking advantage of the complimentary ‘FallsFree4Life’ service aimed at preventing fall incidents in those aged 60 and over in the Slough area. It’s run on the Council’s behalf by Solutions4Health (S4H) and delivers significantly improved outcomes at a much reduced cost.
The service has been reaching out into the community to identify those that may be at a medium risk of falling – often without them even knowing they’re vulnerable – and Dolly says the balance exercises she’s learnt have really helped and become part of her daily routine.
Dolly explains: “I had my stroke 10+ years ago now, but there’s been little (and suitable) aftercare available and I have suffered with giddiness and unsteadiness ever since. It all came to a head when I had seven falls in a few months towards the end of last year and badly struggled to pick myself off the floor unaided. When the FallsFree4Life service launched in Slough shortly after, I was quickly assessed with their clever Kinesis QTUG™ system, which detects and pinpoints mobility impairment and your risk of falling – so prevention techniques can be worked out.
“I’m also taking advantage of their weekly Well Balanced strength and coordination classes at Langley Pavilion Community Centre, which are a great boost for your confidence and a really fun social occasion too. I’ve learnt lots of useful hints and tips and am much more aware of my surroundings and capabilities now. It’s so much better learning with people in the same boat and we all push each other and there’s a real energy about the class – it motivates me for days after to continue doing the exercises at home and look after myself.
“I’ve been busy recommending FallsFree4Life to others locally, via my involvement with the Slough Stroke Support Group, and I tell them I’ve waited nearly 10 years for the right treatment to come along. It would really benefit those with arthritic joints and improve their flexibility. I suffer with osteoarthritis and it’s helped me enormously – I haven’t fallen since and I don’t have to take painkillers anymore.”
Angela Snowling, assistant director of public health at Slough Borough Council said: “This excellent service was commissioned in September of 2015 as a result of nationally benchmarked data on the rate of falls and fractures in older people which showed that Slough had a significantly larger rate than expected. It also showed the peak occurred in the summer months and a programme of awareness was started to support a local charity to promote exercise as a way to prevent falls.
“This evidence based service was demonstrated to people attending the sessions and then commissioned to go into local practices and support vulnerable people. So far over 300 people have had their risk assessed electronically and 30 have already embarked on the 12 week programme.”
As part of the free ‘FallsFree4Life’ service, the team’s wellness coaches undertake a full in-depth falls risk assessment, covering all factors that can increase this risk. This enables S4H to tailor a package of community support that best suits the person’s needs (and those of their family) along with exercise programmes including Tai Chi, group sessions and home exercise.
Philip Hoy, Falls Prevention Project Manager at S4H, adds: “FallsFree4Life makes people aware of the various risks they are exposed to during everyday activities, so they can avoid preventable injuries that could impact their long-term health. With just some minor adjustments and through a holistic approach, it is successfully helping Slough’s elderly residents and their loved ones make the changes necessary to live a strong, independent, safer and much improved life.”