News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Otago falls prevention programme goes global

Media Release
19 December, 2003

Otago falls prevention programme goes global

Until recently, 81 year old Delsey Goldmeyer of Florida knew nothing about New Zealand. But that changed after a fall when her local hospital put her on a falls prevention exercise programme designed by researchers at the University of Otago School of Medicine.

The Otago Exercise Programme is rapidly gaining international recognition as it can reduce falls and fall injuries by 35 percent. It is being used to prevent falls among older adults in South London, India, Toronto and Melbourne, says ACC's National Fall Prevention Programme Manager, Alistair Mac Donald.

“That international recognition is great but, of course, our priority is to help older New Zealanders understand that falls are very preventable,” he says.

Mr Mac Donald says falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalisation in the over 65 age group. "Between 30 to 50 percent of people 65 years and over will fall in a year. Yet, in spite of falls being so common, their serious consequences are often overlooked.”

Mr Mac Donald says many older people find the whole subject of falls frightening and depressing, but they have good reason to be optimistic as falls have been proved to be preventable.

"Falls shouldn't be accepted as a natural part of ageing, regardless of age," he says.

While the programme is helpful for those over 75 years of age, it is particularly well suited to those 80 and over living at home. An Otago Exercise Programme researcher, Dr Clare Robertson, says the programme offers benefits, even to people in their nineties.

According to international fall prevention research, poor leg strength and balance are significant factors in most falls.

Often older adults who have suffered a fall move into long-term care. But by building leg strength, balance and flexibility, the Otago programme helps them to age confidently and independently at home in the knowledge that they can avoid falls.

In New Zealand, the Otago Exercise Programme is funded in a growing number of regions by ACC and the Ministry of Health.

The Otago programme is one of several fall prevention exercise services designed to cater to the rapidly growing population of older adults. Another exercise programme, the ACC Fall Prevention Tai Chi initiative, is now being offered through much of New Zealand.

Mr Mac Donald advises people who have had a fall or who fear having another one to talk about prevention with their health professional.

Research shows that falls have a variety of causes and usually more than one is present in most falls. Contrary to widespread belief, comparatively few falls among older adults are caused by things around the home like loose mats and electric cords.

Alongside leg muscle weakness and poor balance, medication use, low blood pressure, inactivity and impaired vision are important in causing falls.

“A fall risk assessment by your health professional that involves things like a review of blood pressure and sleeping pills is probably going to do more to prevent another fall than getting rid of the rug you've had for 20 years,” Mr Mac Donald says.

Recent ACC research shows older adults are most likely to ask their GP or practice nurse for information on preventing falls. Accordingly, ACC is working with doctors and other health professionals to make sure they have the most up to date information on fall prevention and, where appropriate, they make referrals to Fall Prevention Tai Chi and the Otago Exercise Programmes.

To find out more, talk to your doctor or practice nurse. You can order the ‘Stepping Out with Confidence – Avoiding Falls’ brochure from 0800 844 657 or visit the ACC website www.acc.co.nz.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>

ALSO:

Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news