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Julie Griffiths, the manager of Medequip’s Wirral Falls Prevention service, has shared the raft of new measures that Medequip has introduced to keep its clients safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the crisis, Medequip’s Wirral Falls Prevention Service has strived to keep its clients engaged, with Julie highlighting the negative effects that reduced activity and resultant deconditioning can have on strength, mobility, confidence and independent living for elderly individuals.

Although certain services had to be temporarily paused due to COVID-19, Medequip has introduced a number of new initiatives to ensure clients received the same levels of support and service.

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For example, Julie said that in place of Wirral Falls Prevention Service’s ‘Positive Steps’ education sessions and assessment clinics, Medequip has provided telephone assessments to check in on clients and ensure they are safe and well.

Additionally, Medequip has increased its activity on social media to provide online falls prevention, with Julie adding that the company is developing online exercise sessions.

“These are designed to be a simple start to exercising and so are accessible to most of our older population with as little risk as possible,” she said. “We have started by demonstrating individual exercises, making early videos posted very short, as, until stamina builds up, this might be all that an individual can manage. By following a video demonstrating a full exercise session, progress is then encouraged.”

The Wirral Falls Prevention Service has also shared various educational videos for clients, which demonstrate activities such as ‘how to safely get up from the floor’, ‘good sit to stand techniques’, and ‘back loosening exercises before getting out of bed’.

Furthermore, the service has been posting explainer videos on its Facebook page for free to keep clients engaged and active during the pandemic.

Although the Wirral Falls Prevention Service has implemented a raft of new virtual offerings in order to reduce face-to-face contact during the coronavirus crisis, certain staff members and clients were still keen to engage in exercise programmes after shielding and lockdown finished.

Despite not being able to carry out group sessions, the falls prevention service saw staff members don PPE aprons, face shields and gloves, and visited clients’ homes to teach exercises programmes on a 1:1 basis.

“We continue with regular telephone support once exercises are taught, and we are working with our Age UK colleagues to continue with that support,” Julie continued. “We are also looking to support access to our online information through Age UK, who are running an android tablet loan scheme.

“Our falls prevention information booklet is now being distributed by Age UK volunteers, which have generated some self-referrals into the service.”

As a result of these alternative service offerings, Medequip has reported positive feedback, with clients saying that they are feeling the benefits of engaging with the Wirral Falls Prevention Service.

Since the beginning of August, the service has engaged with over 120 older people in the home exercise programme. Medequip adds that it has maintained an outcome of 78 percent of clients reporting that they had no further falls, six weeks after an intervention with Wirral Falls Prevention Service.

Medequip recently partnered with AAT to offer unique solutions to home access, which sees Medequip quickly deliver an AAT stairclimber directly to a person’s home to enable them to remain safe, mobile and independent. It also facilitates accelerated discharges from hospital due to quick deployment of a stairclimber.

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