Virtual Clinics Launched to Reduce Risk of Falls Across Penarth and the Wider Area

  Posted: 29.06.20 at 13:23 by Zola Hargreaves

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Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s Physiotherapy team today launched the ‘Stay Steady Virtual Clinics’ - a service which aims to provide support and advice to individuals who are worried about falling or are a little unsteady on their feet.

We spoke to a Penarth resident who described the importance of this kind of service, especially for older people in the community.

They said: ''My elderly neighbour, who my family had provided care for, for many years, had a fall at the beginning of this year. I had popped round and noticed that she hadn't collected her milk that day and thought it was a bit weird.

"I got into the house to find that she had fallen over and was lying on the kitchen floor. I had no idea how long she had been there and she was very confused and cold.

"Heartbreakingly, for a number of reasons alongside the fall, she passed away in hospital later that evening.

"It is so important that this kind of situation is avoided as much as possible. She was a healthy, active person other than a few physical ailments and I think that with more education and care regarding falls, the situation could have been avoided.

"Services like this in the area are really important and I'm grateful that the health board are making them more accessible.

"My neighbour didn't have family in the area and she was largely living in a very isolated way. Any additional help would really benefit her."

A dedicated team of falls specialist physiotherapists will be on hand to assess individual risk of falling and recommend actions to take in the new service.

The clinic is delivered ‘virtually’ by phone or video consultation, and so is accessible to people while they are in their own home, and is available to all residents in the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.

Individuals can access the service by phoning 02921 832552 or emailing [email protected] to arrange an appointment with a Physiotherapist.

A member of the physio team will get in touch within a few days to confirm an appointment.

The therapist will run through a detailed assessment with each caller to try and establish the risk of having a fall and will recommend the best course of action, along with some exercises to reduce that risk. The clinics ultimately aim to support individuals in feeling more confident in doing day to day activities and reduce their risk of a fall.

Each caller will be given an action plan which could include doing online exercise classes or following written exercise guides at home, as well as falls prevention advice. A follow-up call will be booked in after each appointment to see how individuals are getting on.

Kirsty Jones, Senior Physiotherapist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “Stay Steady Clinics have been running in Cardiff across various community settings for nearly two years now. During the COVID-19 pandemic we are unable to continue with our face to face clinics so we have worked really hard to ensure that we can now deliver these clinics virtually.

“Anyone can have a fall, but older people are more vulnerable and likely to fall. There can sometimes be a generational stoicism and acceptance that falling is part of growing older but falls should absolutely not be seen as a normal part of ageing.

“A lot of falls are preventable and through this service, we can empower individuals to be aware of a range of risk factors which could cause somebody to fall – these could be as simple as sensible footwear or common trip hazards around the home. Each individual is assessed by a falls specialist physiotherapist who will provide an individual plan with a range of actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of falling.”

“We aim to empower individuals and give them skills before they find themselves in a crisis situation. Self-confidence can be hugely affected following a fall so we would recommend that individuals self-refer to our virtual clinics where we can provide a free personalised service and a programme of advice with simple strength-building exercises that can be done at home.”

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