Helpforce partner awarded funding to deliver Falls Prevention Volunteering service in GP practices and care homes

19th January 2024

Falls Prevention Kingston

The volunteering team at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have successfully expanded their Falls Prevention Volunteering service into local care homes and GP surgeries since late 2023.

Helpforce evaluated the trust’s Falls Prevention Volunteering service, establishing its positive impact on older vulnerable people and helping to make the case for its expansion. The new one-year programme has enabled volunteers to deliver physiotherapist-designed exercise sessions to care homes residents and those identified as at risk of falls or deconditioning by local GPs. Our evaluation helped establish that the exercises help residents build up their balance, reduce the risks of falls, and improve their wellbeing.

Jackie 1 landscape
A falls prevention volunteer supporting patients to do exercises at her home

Maeve Hully, Director of Volunteering at Helpforce, said: “We are delighted to support the volunteering team at the trust in securing this development as part of our support to the trust as one of our Back to Health partners.

“We worked with the team to develop and evaluate the Falls Prevention Volunteering service that allowed volunteers to visit patients with a high risk of falls in their homes and support them with their prescribed exercises.

The latest results showed that patients’ strength and mobility improved and, importantly, 63% of patients said that they took on additional activities as a result of the programme. These included increased exercise and extra walking, but also community activities like going to a day centre.

“We are thrilled to see that these results have helped the volunteering team at the trust to successfully build a business case for funding via the Trust’s Inspiration Fund which is supported by the Kingston Hospital Charity.”

Laura Greene, Head of Volunteering at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are super excited with this new opportunity to work with our local GPs and care homes to roll out the Falls Prevention Volunteering programme. The funding has allowed us to secure a dedicated physiotherapist’s time to support the programme.

“This expansion of our programme is really important because we know that people who live in care homes are three times more likely to fall than people living in their own homes. Most importantly, this group of people are older, more frail, and more likely to be impacted by falls than those living in community.

“As well as Helpforce’s evaluation, other research has found that care homes with a falls prevention programme have 43% fewer falls compared with usual care. We believe the Falls Prevention Volunteering programme will benefit care home residents and be part of a solution to this serious problem.

“We are grateful for Helpforce’s help this work, sharing advice about building the case as well as the evidence about the impact of the programme. We are delighted that Helpforce will continue evaluating this programme and hope that the evidence will help us to seek funding to sustain the programme in the future.”

Learn more about this programme in this video