New volunteering programme helps elderly patients stay safe following hospital discharge

26 October 2021

A new volunteering programme, which aims to help prevent falls among elderly patients at home, launched in October. 

The “Falls Prevention – Community Exercise Volunteers” programme, which is run by the volunteering service at Kingston Hospital and supported by Helpforce charity, sees volunteers providing one-to-one support to encourage patients to complete exercises at home. This new volunteering programme will help ensure patients receive the right support at home and reduce the risk of being re-admitted due to falls.

It is estimated that about 40% of older adults fall within six months of discharge, with 50% of these incidents resulting in injury (Said et al. 2016). It is widely recognised that exercises focused on improving strength and balance can reduce risk of falls and research indicates that a tailored exercise programme can reduce falls by as much as 54% (NICE, 2018).

Volunteers will support patients to undertake a physiotherapy prescribed exercise programme at home after being discharged from hospital, with the aim of improving strength, mobility and balance, and in turn reducing the risk of falls, as well as restoring wellbeing and independence for patients.

Nic Kane, Chief Nurse for Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted to support this piece of work, which is a fantastic example of collaborative working between community trusts, acute hospitals and the voluntary sector. Thank you to everyone involved in this project, which will make a real difference to patients.”

Volunteers who take part in this programme will visit patients at their home once a week for a duration of eight weeks, to demonstrate the exercises and provide encouragement.

Find out more about volunteering at Kingston Hospital.

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