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Tuesday 25th October 2016

LCH NHS Trust publishes new research on health care for the over 65s

25th September 2012

Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust has just published findings from its new research into the effectiveness of low-cost, community-based exercise programmes to help reduce the likelihood of falls in over 65’s.

Undertaken with Liverpool John Moores University, the findings are the results of a year-long research study on the Trust’s multi award-winning Liveability service, which specialises in promoting the health and independence amongst older people.

People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling, with 30% of people older than 65, and 50% of those older than 80, falling at least once per year.

At present the incidence rate of hip fracture in the over 65s is significantly worse in Liverpool at 476 cases per year compared to the national average of 458 (Health Profile, 2011). 

Diane Singleton, Liveability Service Lead says, “These alarming statistics indicate a great need for effective approaches that help older people to improve their health, fitness, quality of life, and at the same time reduce the risk of falls.

“Clearly this is an extremely important area of research, particularly when you also consider our rapidly ageing population and the growing challenges that this poses for local health services.

“Locally, we know that over 160,000 Liverpool residents are now between 49 and 90 years of age, and this number is set to increase dramatically in the next few years.  In fact, if current trends continue, half the local population will be age 50 or over by 2024.”

The study measured the impact of participation in two hours per week of instructor-led gym type activities on the physical fitness, strength, flexibility, balance, and aerobic endurance of all participants, over a twelve week period.

Each participant was monitored at the start and end of the twelve week programme, as well as six and twelve months later to help assess the longer term impact.

Findings showed that the one hour, twice a week exercise instructor-led sessions of low intensity exercise provided sufficient levels of exercise to have a significant effect on participants.

The programme was effective in reducing the risks of falls in over 65’s, by improving physical fitness, confidence, balance and enhancing their overall quality of life.

It was also effective in motivating participants to be more active at home, with the participants maintaining their improved physical activity and fitness levels up to 6 months after the twelve week programme had finished.

The following sets of results are a summary of key findings, reported as percentage changes:

Physical activity levels -

  • 41% increase in physical activity immediately after the programme
  • 36% increase in physical activity 6 months afterwards

Confidence in balance -

  • 7% increased confidence in balance immediately after the  programme
  • 4.8% increased confidence in balance 6 months afterwards

Reduced risk of falls -

  • 17% reduced risk immediately after the programme
  • 11% reduced risk 6 months afterwards

Improved physical fitness -

  • 59% improvement in the group’s physical fitness levels immediately after the programme
  • 80% improvement in the group’s physical fitness levels 6 months afterwards. 

Bernie Cuthel, Chief Executive of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust said:

“Encouraging people to be more active is something we are very committed to at LCH. As these latest research findings highlight, even just a small increase in activity levels can make a dramatic difference to someone’s overall health and wellbeing - especially in older age.

”As a Trust, we run  a number of successful initiatives throughout Liverpool and Sefton  which support people of all ages to get moving for their health, and I would certainly encourage anyone in the over 60’s age group who is at all concerned about their health and fitness level to contact our Liveability service for support.”

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Catherine Kennedy

Sunday 30th September 2012 @ 17:58

Great to see more research that backs up that physical exercise and balance work can help reduce falls. But how can we motivate people to continue to keep up the exercise? Also how can we motivate those who are at a high risk of taking up execrise in the first place?

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