Falls prevention exercise classes are beneficial for older people, according to a report published this week by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The delivery of evidence-based exercise classes varies widely between healthcare providers, and many patients need to be made more aware that therapeutic exercise can help to prevent falls, researchers found.

The RCP report is based on feedback from more than 1,700 older people who attended NHS-run exercise programmes that aimed to reduce falls.

The results showed that 96 per cent of older people felt the exercises were beneficial, while 95 per cent were either satisfied or very satisfied with their exercise programme.

Physiotherapist Jill Phipps, falls prevention coordinator at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust welcomed the report. She was a member of the FallSafe steering group, a project led by the RCP which promoted best practice in the prevention and management of falls in hospital wards.

Strength and balance

She said the results showed that physios should be striving to raise awareness of how strength and balance exercises can promote healthy ageing, as well as ensuring that they adhere to the evidence base for exercise.

‘We are delighted that older people enjoy their NHS exercise class and find it beneficial,’ said Ms Phipps.

‘Physios enjoy taking the classes and we’d like to do more. But as the report says there is still work to be done in raising awareness of the evidence base, and the fact that exercise is more cost effective than any other intervention for falls prevention. Exercising in groups also provides an opportunity for social interaction.’

To download the report, see the website link below.

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