Fit4All is an exercise and health improvement service in Telford and Wrekin which specialises in falls prevention through the delivery of community courses commissioned by NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. With support from Energize and grant funding from Sport England, Fit4All have secured the finance required to deliver several more of these courses widening their reach across all care workers in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and in the West Midlands.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted considerable challenges, and as a result, Fit4All adapted their approach by developing specialist training for staff working with people at risk of falls to increase awareness and promote the benefits of exercise.
A residential care provider said:
“We have seen an increase in falls and mounting pressure on ambulances responding to falls, with fallers waiting for assistance for sometimes nine hours and longer. Extra care/residential facilities recognise the importance of encouraging movement and exercise amongst their residents but struggle to find instructors who have the capacity to offer a suitable service.”
Falls are a major health concern for older people, and the consequences of a fall can be catastrophic for both the individual and our health and social care systems. Around 30% of people aged over 65 fall each year and 40% of these will sustain an injury, with only 50% of those who have fallen regaining their previous level of independence. Suffering a hip fracture is one of the most serious injuries sustained, affecting over 86,000 people every year, with an associated cost to the health and social care system of around £2 billion annually.
With endorsement and support from a local partner of Fit4All, Wrekin Housing Group – a residential and sheltered housing organisation, trialled the Fit4All ‘Introduction to Preventing Falls Through Exercise’ course. The focus of the course was to give participants the skills to encourage movement and exercise with their residents as part of daily life and familiarisation with the causes of falls, mitigating the risks that are associated, and supporting other care staff to help residents get up safely after a fall.
100% of course attendees felt this training would make their residents more confident in the staff’s skills to help them prevent falls.
A course participant said:
“The information I learned on a Fit4All ‘Introduction to Preventing Falls Through Exercise’ course has had a great impact already – one of our residents fell in his apartment and I was able to help him get up safely.”
Another course participant said:
“The getting up from the floor technique is so useful and has saved so many ambulance call outs… we’ve used it about 18 times in the last few months.”
With support from Energize and grant funding from Sport England, Fit4All secured the finance required to deliver several more courses, in which the results will help monitor and demonstrate the positive impact Fit4All are having to widen their reach across all care workers in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and in the West Midlands.
As well as Wrekin Housing Trust, another of Fit4All’s partners is GreenSquareAccord whose focus is building better lives – part of this is supporting people to live an independent life.