Falls and fracture prevention improves

18 October 2017

Exciting new developments in falls prevention are starting to take effect in Tairāwhiti, including in-home consultations and a new community-wide screening system for those aged over 65-years.

Recently the Positive Aging Expo took place at Te Tini o Porou, centred on falls and fracture prevention.

The forum acted as a soft launch of new community services, including a new risk assessment and referral system – soon to be introduced - to help prevent older people falling and hurting themselves.

At the moment, people are referred to community classes and the Falls Clinic usually after they have had a fall. However soon people aged 65 and over will be screened by nurses at their General Practice says Hauora Tairāwhiti Director of Nursing Quality and Patient Safety, Sonia Gamblen.

“The idea is that prevention is better than a cure. There is the perception that falls are inevitable once you age but many are preventable.”

The new falls prevention initiatives are part of the work started by the Falls Prevention Tairāwhiti Group.

The group was formed in 2013 in response to the National Patient Safety Campaign.

“There is the perception that falls are inevitable once you age but many are preventable.”

“Originally the Falls Prevention Tairāwhiti group aimed to prevent falls in hospital, then aged care, then in the community.”

A year ago the Tairāwhiti Falls Clinic was started as a flow-on from this.

“Now we will have classes in the community helping people improve their strength and balance and for people that cannot get to these classes, in-home lessons. It’s exciting,” says Sonia.

“There are so many things that can help prevent falls; making sure your home is safe, has adequate lighting, is free of clutter – eating sensibly and monitoring medication, but more than anything else, keeping your body moving.”


Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Active Health Manager Toni Hoskin teaches June Hall ho

Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Active Health Manager Toni Hoskin teaches June Hall how to correctly stand from a sitting position as part of the Positive Aging Expo.


Movement was a big focus of the Positive Aging Expo, exemplified by Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Active Health Manager, Toni Hoskin’s Magic of Movement workshop.

“Our bodies are designed to move, we have known that for a long time. We know that when we are physically active it affects our emotional, spiritual and intellectual wellbeing, and helps us to feel more alert and more connected too,” says Toni.

“What sort of movement is great movement? Any movement, move any way you like, as often as you can and for as long as you are able.”

Throughout the workshop, she encouraged participants to “view movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience”.

One talking point was the importance of breaking sitting time with things as simple as getting up to make a cup of tea, sitting up straight and toe-tapping during television advertisement breaks or standing when talking on the phone.

Toni also took the group through an exercise that correctly teaches how to stand from a sitting position – something taught in the Active Bands community class headed by Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti. 

Active Bands is approved by Enliven, as part of Live Stronger for Longer – a national initiative aimed at preventing falls and fractures. People may be referred to different approved classes based on their individual needs, or they can attend at will.

Enliven were chosen to be the national lead agency to ensure all community-based strength and balance programmes meet certain criteria.