Home' Southern Health News : Southern Health News December 2013 Contents The Healthy Hips Program, which is
a collaboration between the Flinders
Medical Centre Physiotherapy
Department and the Southern
Community Falls Prevention Team,
aims to improve the process for
recognising patients who are at risk
of falls before they leave hospital
and follow them up with appropriate
community-based fall prevention
services when they go home.
Senior Physiotherapist Dr Susie
Thomas, who led the development
of the program, said it was originally
targeted at older adults who
were hospitalised following a fall
that resulted in a hip fracture.
"It was quickly identified that it
would be beneficial for the pathway
and processes to encompass all older
hospital patients who are identified
as being at risk of falls at the time of
discharge from hospital," she said.
"A physiotherapist then assesses
the client and commences a
Healthy hips reducing falls
BY SARAH GARVIS
A Southern Adelaide Local Health Network program helping older people to
maintain healthy hips and reduce falls and fractures has been recognised at the
2013 SA Health Awards.
FMC Physiotherapist Tammi Loxton does a
falls assessment with patient Darcy Hancock
comprehensive treatment plan
to address their falls risk.
"If a client continues to be at
risk of falls on discharge, a
referral is made to an appropriate
"One of these options is the
Southern Community Falls
Prevention Team, which triages
and coordinates onward referral to
the most appropriate community-
based falls prevention service
in order to prevent future falls-
related hospital admissions and
prevent duplication of services."
Falls are common among older
people and often result in fractures
or other serious injuries.
At least 90 per cent of hip fractures
occur as the result of a fall and more
than half of those who sustain a
hip fracture will go on to fall again
in the following six months.
Dr Thomas developed the idea for
the program while undertaking
Keep yourself fit and active to
maintain your muscle strength
and balance -- strong muscles
also promote bone strength.
Be physically active every day.
Aim to do at least 30 minutes
of physical activity at least five
times per week (e.g. a 30 min
walk, Tai Chi, dancing, cycling,
exercise groups, etc.)
The activity should make you
breathe a bit faster and your
heart pump a bit harder, but
you should still be able to talk
whilst doing the activity.
If you are concerned about
your balance, speak to a
physiotherapist about which
balance exercises would
best suit you, and whether a
walking aid is required. Using
a walking aid temporarily can
increase your steadiness and
confidence to walk more, just
until you regain your strength
Other risk factors for falls
which can be addressed
by your health professional
include: medications (some
medications can increase
your risk of falling), declining
eyesight, foot problems
(including pain and reduced
footwear, home environment
risks (e.g. slippery floors, mats
that you can trip on, low
chairs, need for grab rails in
the bathroom or at steps),
continence problems and
her PhD and was able to bring it
to fruition after being awarded
a two-year National Health and
Medical Research Council Translating
Research into Practice Fellowship.
"I noticed that patients were being
discharged back into the community
after receiving excellent quality
rehabilitation post hip fracture,
usually with a walking aid, but
there was very little community-
based follow-up for them in terms
of re-assessment of their falls risk
several months later," said Dr
Thomas, who was also affiliated
with UniSA's International Centre
for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE)
as part of the fellowship.
"This sometimes led to the
patient falling again and being
re-admitted to hospital."
The program was recognised
as a finalist in the Building and
Strengthening Partnership category
at the SA Health Awards.
16 / DECEMBER 2013 / SOUTHERN HEALTH NEWS
Links Archive Southern Health News October Southern Health News February 2014 Navigation Previous Page