Falls reduction in older people – new app for health workers
In an Australian first, healthcare workers in New South Wales and Victoria are using a new clinically-tested home exercise app to improve balance and reduce fall risk among older Australians.
StandingTall, developed by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), is now being used by three local area health precincts in NSW and Victoria, with more than 500 patients anticipated to use the app as part of clinical testing over the next six months.
Initial results have found that older Australians who use StandingTall for a recommended two hours each week for 12 months dramatically improve their balance and reduce their risk of falling by up to 30 per cent.
StandingTall features over 2,000 unique exercises vetted by clinicians and enables patients to engage in their own, personalised home exercise program. It automatically provides data to health workers, enabling them to review a patient’s progress and provide more informed treatments, if required.
“StandingTall has been designed by scientists, researchers and health practitioners using the latest findings in neuroscience to help improve the wellbeing and quality of life of older Australians,” said senior NeuRA researcher Associate Professor Kim Delbaere, whose team designed the app.
Each year, one-third of people over 65 years of age experience a major fall, and half of those will fall again in the same year. This makes falls the leading cause of hospitalisation among older people.
“The app brings a suite of fully tailored balance exercises to the home. People love using StandingTall, and 85 per cent of users said integrating it into their daily routine has helped them improve their balance, confidence and overall health,” said Associate Professor Delbaere.
The app will also be promoted by the NSW Government’s Agency for Clinical Innovation, who will encourage its use amongst clinicians, taskforces and institutes. It is anticipated the public will have access to the app following the trials in NSW and Victoria. Residents living in Northern New South Wales, mid North Coast NSW and Austin Health (Melbourne) areas can contact NeuRA or their local area health service if they want to use StandingTall: https://www.standingtall.org.au/
3 December 2019.