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By Your Side

Researchers: Willeke Walsh, Claudia Meyer, Liz Cyarto
Population: At Home Support – Melbourne West region
Funding support: Commonwealth Allied Health Growth Fund

Older people who have had a fall are at greater risk of future falls and development of a fear of falling. Strength and balance exercises have been shown to reduce falls, yet older people are often reluctant to consider exercise in the home for reasons of feasibility and acceptability of programs offered.

There is evidence to suggest that home-based reablement programs, delivered by allied health professionals, can provide physical health benefits to frail older people and reduce falls.

The objectives were to:

  1. Understand the views of community-dwelling older people on various exercise/education delivery options for falls prevention;
  2. Identify falls risk, fear of falling, quality of life and physical function in community-dwelling older people who have fallen within last 12 months, have a fear of falling or are at risk of falls;
  3. Train community care aides in assisting/supervising home-based strength and balance exercises;
  4. Deliver a 12-week home-based strength/balance exercise program for older people at risk of falls, with in-home support provided by a community care aide and remote support provided by a physio;
  5. Deliver individualised falls prevention education via telehealth technology.

Data collection is now complete, with thirteen older people completing the full program. Data analysis is underway. Interviews with older people and community care aides identified the benefits and challenges of program implementation, providing useful learnings for further upscale throughout Bolton Clarke.