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West Coast focuses on falls prevention in community

Thursday 30 March 2017
West Coast focuses on falls prevention in community

In an effort to reduce the number of falls experienced by people on the West Coast, a programme of community awareness events is being produced for “April Falls Month”.

A Health Quality & Safety Commission (HQSC) New Zealand report showed eight incidents on the West Coast in the year to the end of June 2016, five of which were falls-related.

The West Coast health system has traditionally marked April Falls month with posters and information around the DHB’s hospital and general practices. This year Falls Prevention Advisor Celia Smith is working with community representatives and businesses in Buller to highlight what people can do to prevent falls.

Libraries and Mitre 10 outlets across the Coast, along with retail store “Headspace” in Westport will have displays and information people can pick up; a series of tai chi “flashmobs” will take place in Buller; and the DHB website and WCDHB Careers Facebook page will feature a short patient story about preventing falls.

“We want to highlight the things people can do in their own lives and homes to try and stay safe,” Celia says.

Tai Chi tutor Sylvia James says her team of tai chi enthusiasts are looking forward to supporting this awareness-raising month.

“We will appear when least expected,” she says. “People might have been a bit shy when I first mooted the idea, but now they’re looking forward to showing how beneficial low impact physical activities like tai chi can be, and how much fun,” Sylvia says.

Maori health provider Poutini Waiora Buller Kaitakawaenga/Team Leader Rehia McDonald says she is very keen for kaumatua to hear about how important it is to stay physically active and to ensure their homes are trip-safe.

“Our kaumatua are very precious to us. We know that once people have a fall, their health can be compromised in other ways too – and if they’re stuck at home they are in danger of becoming socially isolated. These are things we can all do to look after ourselves and our families. It’s important that we inform ourselves,” Rehia says.

Ends

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