Creative Engagement Part 1

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By David Inglis.  Paediatric Dietitian [Twitter @inglis_86]

UnknownIf the quickest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, the quickest way to their head is probably through their wifi. The Office for National Statistics 2016 report on Internet Access found that 82% of adults accessed the web on an almost daily basis, a 4% increase from the previous year and 47% in the last decade.  There has also been a shift in the way that the internet is accessed with 71% of people using smartphones and other mobile phone devices, up from 53% in 2013, and this is now the primary mode of usage with only 40% using desktop computers. The second most common activity performed on the internet, after sending and receiving emails, is information gathering of goods and services. Investigating health-related information saw a 33 percentage points increase from the previous year to 51%.

Digital technology has changed the way that information is shared around the world and these figures would suggest a craving for accurate information about health and health-related services available at your fingertips. However as with many aspects of the internet, sources regarding health and nutrition are frequently misinformed, subject to personal bias or blatantly inaccurate.

As Allied Health Professionals we can play a key role in improving the quality of information that these groups access but engaging the public effectively in this domain requires us to adopt the communication styles utilised by web users. Social media platforms and common online practices offer the opportunity to creatively deliver and spread evidence-based information.

This is the first of two blog posts about spreading information in the digital space. This article focuses on potential ways of creatively engaging the general public through the generation and collation of online resources, and online marketing techniques. Next week will focus on getting your message seen by large numbers of people.

Blogging offers an opportunity to provide evidence based information in an informal and non-intimidating way. This provides a stark contrast compared to academic journals, which can be daunting to laypersons, and traditional media, which can often provide misleading and contradictory information.

Blogging also usually puts a personal perspective into a topic which adds to the informal nature and can put the information into a practical context for the reader. They can also contain graphics and videos which further illustrate the messages they want to get across. As blogs sit in the digital space they can be accessed at any time and shared by the professional and the reader via social media, with the potential to educate millions without the need for referral to a service. This creates a dynamic and interactive resource and this is one of many online tools which has the potential to make paper leaflets obsolete.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 16.40.01Some websites use a phenomenon known as ‘clickbait’ as a means of enticing users to their sites. This is content which is so alluring as to be difficult to resist clicking on the link. Sites that employ this tactic usually have a high advertising to content ratio which users can find irritating, however the technique is undeniably effective and could be used to attract readers to health-promoting articles. Examples could include:



  • Five must-read ways to maintain you’re Vitamin D levels this winter
  • Ten evidence-based ways to trim a few pounds
  • The secret to being heart healthy

Created content could be scheduled to fit with certain times of the year, like the winter example, or with events, like World IBD Day or National Obesity Awareness Week, to optimise their effectiveness and provide maximum awareness of an issue.

de2Another popular technique which translates well to blogs and social media are Life Hacks. Life Hacks provide novel practical advice to people and are popular because they tend to show  ways of using everyday items that are simple but most people would not have been able to imagine. One of the most difficult areas of advice giving is translating complex scientific theoretical knowledge into practical suggestions which fit in with an individual’s way of life. Collating and creating pieces of simple practical advice, framing them as Life Hacks and hosting them within a blog page would help empower patients to choose the advice that best fits their lifestyle. The example shown is a life hack that could be used for healthy eating on a budget and, for Dietitians, think how much easier the ENFit transition could have been with such resources. From


Life hacks can also be a good way of engaging service users as you can encourage them to create their own and then, for the ones which are safe and reliable, your service can promote them using social media streams (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc). This prevents the burden of creating such content falling solely onto healthcare staff. People also tend to be more compliant with advice when they feel that it comes from someone in a similar situation to them, than they do from a perceived authority figure.

de3A similar way to creatively engage and educate the pubic are memes. Memes are a good example of the way that information spreads through a society. Traditionally they are ideas and  behaviours which are passed from person to person and are believed to proliferate and evolve in a manner similar to population-level genetic expression. Modern memes in social media are depictions, usually involving both images and words, of societal opinions which reflect shared experiences or ubiquitous attitudes and beliefs. These provide reference points to which other members of a community can relate and ultimately can result in the bonding of members without the need for personal acquaintance. These have become popular cultural tools because they are easily digestible, often humorous and are in a good format to be readily shared via social media. As such, the images used in memes are frequently reproduced by others with new tag lines reflecting a similar theme or emotion. This convention provides the opportunity for healthcare professionals to use recognised memes to access social consciousness and be advocates for our agenda.


de4Memes have the potential to go viral and can be a useful way of raising awareness of an issue as popular ones will be seen by millions of people in a short space of time. If used effectively they could be powerful tools to engage the general public, using a format in which they like to communicate, as well as facilitating bonding both inter- and intra-professionally with relatable experiences.


The above are examples of how health professionals can create and share evidence-based practical content in an engaging way for service users and the general public, moving away from the more static paper-based medium.

Check in next week for suggestions on how to share and signpost to appropriate content created by third parties, and how to get your message to reach a large number of people in the digital space.



East Dunbartonshire HSCP….Keeping their residents physically active.


Here in East Dunbartonshire, we have an ever ageing population, therefore, falls and the consequences of falls are a major and growing concern for older people and health and social care providers. Well-organised services and evidence-based guidelines can prevent many falls and fractures in older people within our local community.


Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity for health from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers (2011) delivers the key public health message that physical activity has a vital contribution to make in achieving good health and well-being in later life. This report suggests  that physical activity programmes, which emphasise balance training, limb co-ordination and muscle strengthening activity, are safe and effective in reducing the risk of falls.

The Health Improvement Team and Allied Health Professionals (AHP’s) within East Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership work collaboratively with East Dunbartonshire Leisure & Culture to improve accessibility for local residents to become more active. This partnership supports the AHP Directors Physical Activity Pledge. East Dunbartonshire HSCP provide local residents with opportunities for regular tailor-made physical activity programmes which may contribute to preventing a first fall and future recurrent falls.

Our programmes have been designed by health care and fitness specialists and are quality assured and tailored to the needs of the individual with various physical abilities and health conditions and are described in detail below:

East Dunbartonshire HSCP Programmes:

ed2Walking within East Dunbartonshire is a free initiative in a fun environment and lead by qualified Walk Leaders. The walks range between 30-60 minutes which are low level and ideal for anyone recovering from an injury or illness or just wanting to become more active.  Studies show that by taking part in regular physical activity, it can reduce the risk of falls in Older Adults by 30%.  We have 7 walks on offer every week with around 20 participants per walk taking part.  Not only are our participants keeping physically active, they are having fun in all weathers, and are helping to reduce social isolation. It’s a great way of getting out and taking in the sights of the local landscape.

ed3East Dunbartonshire also offers Vitality Classes.  Vitality is a programme of  exercise classes that supports participants to exercise at a level suitable to their abilities.  Classes are designed in conjunction with NHS GGC and aim to help build and maintain: strength, Co-ordination, Endurance and Flexibility.

Vitality is designed for people living with a range of medical conditions such as; Parkinson’s, MS, stroke, cardiac conditions, osteoporosis, cognitive impairments and COPD or who have a fear of falling or find the strength and balance is impacting on daily activities.

The range of 4 Vitality classes is as follows:

  • Strength & Balance Class
  • Strength & Balance Circuit
  • Step In Circuit
  • Step Up Circuit

ed4For patients who want to get more active and require additional one to one support to help them achieve their goals, Live Active is the answer. This 12 month programme whereby the one-to-one consultations are tailored to the individual – whether their goal is to become more active, eat healthier, lose weight, or work towards a healthier lifestyle. AHP’s can refer or this can be made through an individual GP.


“We have made new friends who want to do what we alI want to do, and that is go out walking.  We have learned about parts of our town that we didn’t know about or hadn’t been to and now feel more confident walking about our lovely, scenic countryside. Some of us have started training to be walk leaders and have gained confidence in leading people” (Kirkintilloch Walking Group)


“Vitality Classes are great and easy to do.  At 81, they keep me active and give me the energy I need to keep up with my grandkids” ~ (Alex, 81)


 “The advisers at Live Active were fantastic.  They really helped me find activities that I enjoyed and provided me with the encouragement to stay on track” ~ (Aileen, 44)


Useful Links:-

For more information regarding East Dunbartonshire HSCP Services, please contact David Inglis, Health Improvement Senior

on 0141 232 8225 or email

Technology. Finding the Lync between work and home.






by Joanna Teece, Dietitian, NHS Fife



Does this sound familiar? I use technology to link and communicate with others all the time outside of work, without giving it a second thought, but it still seems a challenge at work. How do we bridge the divide between technology we have at work, compared to what we have at home?

Maybe it’s the jargon; Jabber, Lync, VC link, e-health were all alien words to me. Maybe it’s the fear; as an experienced health professional, who others may view as a leader or expert, it’s sometimes hard to be out of your comfort zone and admit it’s all really new and strange. A case of the blind leading the blind! Or perhaps it’s the worry of professionalism. The Health and Care Professions Council have strict guidance on our code of conduct and the world of twittersphere and e-health seem fraught with challenges. Making time in a busy clinical environment, with many competing pressures, finding time to take out to use and become comfortable with new technologies is hard to do and justify in work.

I’ve been on a journey to start to become more comfortable and knowledgeable about e-health and technology at work. I’m definitely a newbie and it’s exciting the potential and enthusiasm from other AHPs and colleagues in NHS Fife.

rc-ipadI’m not really sure what sparked my interest. About six months ago a colleague retired and by being in the right place at the right time, I was assigned her iPad. This was the easy bit as an iPad was familiar to me. I thought this is great. I can use it to access e-mail at home and as well as at work (the novelty soon wore off). I took it along to meetings rather than printing off reams of minutes and agendas. I felt like I’d arrived in life! I knew other colleagues had iPads so I decided to scope how we were using iPads within the department. As I was doing this, one of our Clinical Leads was able to share her experience of the NMAHP (Nurses, midwives, and Allied Health Professionals) e-health leadership programme run by NHS Education for Scotland (NES). She invited anyone interested within the Dietetic department to join a local virtual e-health group. The use of ipads for clinical delivery was happening across AHPs and I was keen to find out more.

LinkingThe virtual clinical e-health group looked great; the minutes from the meetings were discussing similar topics I was interested in. I decided to put the date in my diary. Then came the next hurdle. I needed Lync in order to join the meeting as it was virtual. No idea what this was. I knew it wasn’t a deodorant with a similar name and was spelt Lync not link. Turns out it was the little green box and button that had been sitting in the background on my computer desktop every time I had logged on. I felt the best way to cement Lync in my head was to think of it like Skype but for work.  It has similar functions, you can instant message, do voice or audio calls and something new to me was also the option to visually share documents with each other during a conversation. I needed a headset so I could hear the chat and a little camera also appeared on my desktop screen. Cue lots of concern about how do we know when it’s on or off. I had a fun but slightly fraught half hour practicing using Lync, talking into the headset, trying to get the camera to work to call my colleagues upstairs. The choice was then endless, should I walk upstairs to ask them a question, phone them, email them, instant message them or audio/ voice call via Lync! And the best thing for me about Lync, I’m loving that is has all the “Emoji” smiley faces and thumbs up that I’m so familiar with from Facebook and my smart phone.



Screen shot of Lync in action- Fiona peer reviewing this blog

The NHS Fife virtual e-health group first met in January 2016. Carolyn McDonald, Associate Director AHPs NHS Fife worked with Fiona Millar, Children and Young People’s Occupational Therapist to establish the first virtual meeting. The group has 14 members with six different AHP groups represented, who together span a wide range of specialties. On average seven are able to attend each meeting with five meetings being held to date.


The group is refreshing in many ways in that is has a less formal format. There is no set agenda or allocated chair prior to the meeting, but on the day the group agrees a chair and minute taker. It works well as a forum for sharing good practice. Progress, minutes and action points are circulated after each meeting.

Fiona reflected upon the group. “It has been great to meet with others that are interested and passionate about e-health.  Using Microsoft Lync allows us to participate from our desk so no one has to travel across Fife, saving both time and resource in relation to mileage. We share knowledge and experience and support each other in our e-health journeys.”

6Locally, NHS Fife is held an Allied Health Professions e-health sharing event on 20th September.  Fiona will be presented at this event about how AHPs in NHS Fife are leading the way in the use of Lync technology. Staff were also be able to Lync into the presentations on the day from other sites in NHS Fife.

Lync is not only used in NHS Fife, with calls able to be made to the Health and Social Care partnership and across boards.  So please speak to your local e-health department to enquire about options in your area – it really is the way forward and cuts out travel time, saving your organsiation money and leaving you more time for patient care.

If you would like to find out more please feel free to contact myself ( or Fiona (


AHPs – are we ready for the increased use of technology?

By Charlotte Kay – Physiotherapist


As a newly qualified Physiotherapist, I have noticed the increased use of technology within the health service throughout the course of my placements. However, with this I also witnessed the resistance that often comes with the introduction of technology in a work environment. 88% of people in the UK use the Internet or own a smart phone (Spring 2015 Global Attitudes Survey) – however, using technology in personal life is a different matter to using it in a professional capacity.

It is frequently assumed that the younger generation and students will be more willing to use technology than older staff. However, there was no data to either prove or disprove these assumptions within the AHP population. This gap in the research gave rise to a study investigating the ‘technology readiness’ of qualified and student AHPs (NHS Lothian and Queen Margaret University).


The ‘Technology Readiness Index’ (TRI), was used to measure the willingness of AHPs to incorporate technology into the workplace. The TRI is split into positive (innovativeness and optimism) and negative (discomfort and insecurity) categories. These category scores are then combined to give an overall technology readiness score. Scores range from 1 to 5 with a higher score indicating greater technology readiness.

What are the results?

487 AHP staff and students were surveyed. Initial targets were for 100 responses but the degree of response in itself suggests that there is sufficient interest in this topic and the information generated.

A summary of results is provided below.


Significant results found:

  • Students and newly qualified staff showed greater innovativeness and optimism than staff who had been qualified for longer
  • Students showed higher levels of insecurity than all qualified staff
  • Insecurity and discomfort had similar levels amongst qualified staff

These results were further analysed and grouped into ‘types’. The table below shows a summary of the typology analysis.


56% were classed as ‘skeptics’ regarding the use of technology in the workplace. This implies that in order to successfully introduce technology, staff need to be educated and convinced about the benefits of technology to overcome these skeptical beliefs.

 What can we learn?

 The positives…

This study, being the first of it’s kind to investigate the attitudes of AHPs has first and foremost provided us with an understanding of the attitudes of the current and future AHP workforce. In general, the population surveyed showed ‘neutral’ overall TRI scores. Although this does not show a positive attitude, it is encouraging that there was no overall negative attitude found. Students and newly qualified staff showed greater innovativeness and optimism. This indicates that these groups have good ideas of how technology can be used and positive views towards it.


On the other hand…

A particularly concerning point to consider is that students showed greatest levels of insecurity. These findings are interesting in that the stereotypical belief that students would show greater technology readiness may not necessarily be true. Although we recognise that students and new graduates have optimism and innovativeness, it cannot be assumed that they will confident to apply these skills in the clinical setting.


Based on the significantly lower innovativeness and optimism shown by longer qualified staff, it also cannot be assumed that this group of staff will be open and willing to new ideas that students and newly qualified staff bring to the workforce.


So what?

These findings indicate that there is room for improvement in all groups, therefore this is important to consider by both higher education institutes and NHS boards as both play a role in preparing staff for new technology. Support, education and reassurance regarding the benefits of new technology, is required in order to overcome initial resistance. Students and new graduates require support to help them feel reassured about how they can best use their skills in a new setting and to nurture their positive attitudes throughout their career.


Euan McComiskie mentioned in his recent AHP blog the potential to implement a national component of university education that would focus on developing the knowledge and skills required for the successful use of eHealth technologies within the workplace. For qualified staff, could something similar be implemented? AHPs already complete mandatory training in basic life support, manual handling, etc. Is it time that a form of eHealth training is made mandatory?


In conclusion, this study has revealed a number of issues within the student and qualified AHP population. However, the results have only just scratched the surface. Future research would be beneficial to investigate the reasons why students and staff show the attitudes revealed in this study. This information could help in tailoring additional training to the needs of the current and future workforce.


#eNMAHP #ready4tech #technology #eHealth #AHP

Facing the fear of falling

Week three of our Falls Awareness September blogs by 

Rebekah Wilson. Ayrshire and Arran Falls Lead

captureLast week I took part in a session and experienced the ‘aging suit’.  The age simulation suit offers the opportunity to experience the impairments that may be faced by older people.  My vision and hearing were restricted as were the movements of my joints, my grip strength and coordination. Once suited up I was set some usual daily tasks – pouring a glass of water, writing a shopping list and finding and folding some items in the room.  I managed my chores but with a real challenge and what struck me most as I reflected on the session was how properly frightened I had been of falling.



download-5Not surprisingly, many people who have a fall develop a fear of falling again, becoming more cautious, stopping doing things and losing confidence in abilities. However it is also very common for people to worry about falling even if they have not had a fall and it is believed that it is experienced by up to half of older people living in the community. Having fears about falling is often distressing, limiting life in so many ways it can become a serious concern. Constantly worrying about falling can prevent us from having an active and fulfilling life.

Being frightened of falling is such a challenge to those who are feeling the fear and to those who are caring for frightened people. How can we help people who have a fear of falling?

Let’s talk about the fear…
img_20160820_082202714There is a German proverb ‘Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is!’

It would seem that a good place to start is to talk about it! It is so important to have someone listen to your fears and acknowledge them.  Recognising and understanding the existence of fear of falling and the extent it can impact on everyday function is a positive step to addressing the fear.  The trauma of someone who has had a long lie following a fall cannot be overlooked when providing interventions for the recovery of the physical injury from the fall.  Yet in making recommendations and providing interventions to the person and their family and carers, I am increasingly aware and mindful of how my approach can reinforce risk aversion and fear. As Ann Murray, National Falls Programme Manager mentioned ‘overemphasising risks and focusing only on safety may inadvertently stigmatise falls or cause people to restrict their activities’.



The cycle…


It’s a cycle seen all too often. It starts with a fall, then inactivity, then weakness and finally greater risk for falling and injury.  Although appropriate caution is healthy, avoiding too many activities puts you at risk.  The more worried you become of falling the less likely you are to keep active and restrict activities unnecessarily due to reduced confidence.

Since physical capacity declines with age, keeping active is an important way to reduce the impact of this inevitable decline. Fearful individuals often slow their walking, widen their stance, and make other adjustments that badly affect their balance.

Anxiety can make you act in ways that help you feel safer – for example, holding onto things because you think you will fall and for many people this then results in not going out anymore. Avoiding or stopping doing things can make life difficult and most certainly less enjoyable.

What strategies can help?

The good news is that it is possible to break the fear of falling cycle.  People all have different attitudes and levels of tolerance to risk and I believe that AHP’s have a valuable role in working with individuals, caregivers, family and friends to achieve a balance of risk and activity.


Limiting activity won’t prevent falls but taking the opportunity for falls prevention and management will prevent falls.

Multifactoral falls risk screening can identify falls-related risks factors that can be treated, modified or better managed. Following a falls risk screen and then providing individuals with an action plan provides some ‘self-defence’ strategies and gives a measure of control in lowering risk for falling and falling injuries. Reducing fear can contribute to maximising an individual’s capacity and control over life and has the potential to impact positively on preventing further ill health.

There are things we can suggest to support people to reduce their fear of falling.

Staying active

Stay active and make use of local supports available

Set small goals to help restore confidence

Where possible get active out of the house as well as remaining active in your own home.

Continue with favourite hobbies or take up new ones

Get involved with local community clubs or groups



Positive thinking

Think about the times you have not fallen.

Think about your progress.

Tell yourself how well you are doing.

Try to think positively.

Enjoy the present.

Keep your sense of humour!


Look after yourself

Eat healthily, get enough sleep and exercise regularly to help stay healthy and active.

Learn to pace yourself.

Allow time for yourself each day.

Practice relaxation exercises.




Find a solution

by Toni-Michelle Lee, Moray Falls Lead Officer


How-to-Develop-a-Business-Plan-in-Six-Easy-StepsWell it’s been a busy week for me as Falls Officer in Moray (luckily not with actual falls) and for the last while I’ve been gearing up to this moment! Around three months ago I was asked to try and find a solution for picking up the uninjured fallers across Moray and implement a pathway. Without any extra staff resource and a small budget for equipment, this was no easy task.

We all suffer falls occasionally but as we get older we are more likely to have a fall. An 85-year-old is five times more likely to have a fall than a 65-year-old. Many falls, particularly among older people, result in the likes of hip fractures. Following a fall, many people often fear it will happen again and this leads to a loss of confidence which limits their daily activities and therefore threatens their independence. When I was first in post, I preached to all who would listen “Falls is everyone’s responsibility”….with this in mind, I set to work. I thought about the health professionals who were already out there, out in people’s homes, out in the community, out with fallers. Those on the ground who are identifying and picking up uninjured fallers on a daily basis – it’s the sheltered housing wardens, the OT’s, the home carers, the district nurses to name but a few. If these personnel had access to falls equipment, they could assist with picking clients up on a more official basis, couldn’t they? Many do already….

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-07-35-44My next thought was to the falls equipment itself, I started attending equipment demonstrations and seminars and although there was lots of efficient equipment I thought fit the bill, I didn’t see exactly what I was looking for – that is, until I saw the “Raizer”. If you have haven’t already seen it, I recommend going on line and having a look – simple but completely effective.  It was exactly what I’d been looking for, with full battery charge it does up to 100 lifts, maximum weight is 23.5 stone, quiet and quick – it can be built around the faller but the biggest plus for me is it comes with a remote control, so only one responder is needed.

I bought seven Raizers in total, with the thought that each of the community hospitals across Moray could house one. Being that Moray is so geographically dispersed, the hospitals are the ideal locations. They have 24 hour, 7 day a week access and there is one in each locality. This way, the ground staffs are able to leave the faller, pick up the equipment and re-attend the faller which would be far quicker than paramedic attendance, not to mention the inefficiency of an emergency service being used for non-injury and surely a positive influence on the negative impact experienced by fallers. Shared responsibility by all means a better service for clients and a lesser impact on staff within the community care teams.

After months of many meetings, composing equipment policies, falls policies, training, speaking to all stakeholders involved and obtaining the buy-in needed from staff – we are ready to go! Raizer training is being held over 4 days for anyone and everyone within the realms of community care and I personally will be dropping off the equipment to every community hospital within Moray this week – exciting times.

PathI am not saying this pathway will be seemless and without flaws, and it does depend upon the buy-in and contribution of all staff but that’s exactly what community care in Moray is all about – providing an efficient, effective and positive service that promotes independent living – after all….”Falls is EVERYONES’S responsibility”.

Taking positive steps to prevent falls

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 08.23.19

Taking positive steps to prevent falls

Ann Murray, National Falls Programme Manager   

email    Twitter @annahpfall


Most of us will have experienced a fall at some time in our lives. For many, this will have resulted in little more than embarrassment. Think Madonna at the Brits. However, as we get older, falls are more common and the consequences of falls tend to become much more serious.

UnknownFalls facts

For AHPs not already actively involved in falls prevention and management, there are some falls facts that are worth knowing:

  • Around one third of people aged over 65 fall each year – the cost to health and social care services of managing the consequences is substantial. In Scotland, this amounts to well over £471m annually. Less easy to quantify is the personal cost to the person, their family and friends.
  • A fall is a symptom not a diagnosis; it can often be the first sign of a new or worsening health problem or a decline in a person’s functioning. A fall can also be the first indication that someone is becoming frail – although not everyone who falls is frail.
  • Whether or not an injury is sustained, a fall can be a ‘tipping point’ in a person’s life, triggering a downward spiral of loss of confidence, inactivity, isolation and dependence.

In other words, falls matter.

Falls are not an inevitable part of getting older

Most people over 65 don’t fall. So falls should never be considered ‘normal’.

Risk factors for falls have long since been identified, and can be personal (such as muscle weakness, poor balance, dizziness, visual, cognitive and foot problems) and/or environmental (such as poor lighting, low temperature, clutter and uneven surfaces). Falls will often be the result of an interaction of several risk factors.

How can falls be prevented?

In short, falls prevention is about:

  • identifying then addressing factors that are likely to be contributing to a person’s risk of falls.

For example…
Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 08.24.42

  • taking steps to minimise potential harm from falls – such as optimising bone health and putting strategies in place to summon help quickly in the event of a fall.
  • minimising risk while enabling a physically active, meaningful and independent life – arbitrarily restricting activity to prevent falls will only serve to weaken muscles and bone, increasing the risk of falls and harm.


UnknownThe good news

In Scotland, there is more going on than ever to prevent falls and the resultant distress and harm. We’ve had a National Falls Programme for a number of years, co-created a vision for falls prevention and management and fracture prevention – the ‘Up and About Pathway’ – and our first Framework for Action was published in 2014. Locally, Falls Leads are driving improvement. There are numerous examples of successful and innovative falls prevention initiatives across Scotland, many of which are AHP-led.


The Up and About Pathway (QIS 2010) Framework for Action, 2014-16 (SG, 2014)

However, there’s more to do – falls continue to be a growing challenge as our population ages.

What can we do as AHPs? 

Talk about falls

Because a fall can signal a decline in a person’s functioning or health, it presents an opportunity to identify and address underlying problems that might not otherwise have come to attention. If a person you’re in contact with reports…

  • a fall
  • an injury due to a fall
  • problems with daily activities or new care needs since a fall

… have a conversation about falls every time, to identify people who could benefit from either self management information and/or multifactorial falls risk screening and interventions. In fact, any contact with an older person potentially provides an opportunity for a conversation about falls prevention.

To support self management, you can sign post people to a range of useful resources, such as NHS inform’s Falls Information Zone, Smartcare’s Falls Assistant online tool and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy/Saga booklet, Get Up and Go.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 07.59.00

Take action to prevent and manage falls

Multifactorial falls risk screening and interventions involve working with a person, their family or carers to systematically check for and act on falls-related risks factors that can be treated, modified or better managed.  Identified risk factors should be linked to interventions in an individualised and outcomes based plan.

AHPs are involved in delivering interventions to tackle a number of risk factors, including those relating to muscle strength, balance, mobility, environmental hazards, activities of daily living, fear of falling, cognitive impairment, foot pain and deformity, nutrition, hydration and bone health.

If you’re unable to carry out screening and the relevant interventions yourself, find the teams or services in your area that can help with this, and agree how you can work together to provide the information, interventions, support or care that may be required to prevent falls.

Work with partners to prevent and manage falls

Of course, falls prevention and management isn’t the preserve of AHPs; work with health and social care, third, independent, community safety and housing sector partners to support self management, identify people at high risk and take an integrated and co-ordinated approach to prevention and management.

imagesAnd finally, a positive approach…

With reason, people who fall and professionals can view falls as a threat to a person’s identity and independence. Overemphasising risks and focusing only on safety may inadvertently stigmatise falls or cause people to restrict their activities. Asking about falls need not reinforce negative assumptions about old age – setting meaningful goals to preserve or restore a person’s function, independence and quality of life is both positive and enabling.