Whanganui DHB's Falls Prevention Team making a difference


24 April 2018

Alida Van Den Broek.

As April Falls Month draws to a close, Whanganui District Health Board's (WDHB) Falls Prevention Team encourages anyone who has fallen or is prone to falling, to ask for advice and support.

The team’s full-time registered nurse Alida Van Den Broek says the Falls Prevention Team based at Whanganui Hospital accepts referrals from GPs, families/whānau, community agencies such as Age Concern, community and home-based support services and St John’s Ambulance, as well as hospital services such as district nurses.

Funded by ACC, the Falls Prevention Team helps reduce falls among the frail elderly through assessments and interventions they carry out in a patient’s home.

The team includes Ms Van Den Broek, part-time occupational therapist Nicole Jordan and part-time physiotherapist Julie Craig who are employed by the WDHB, and fracture liaison service nurse Tina Van Bussel who is employed by the Whanganui Regional Health Network.

Ms Van Den Broek says they have one client who contacted her directly when an injury left him unable to continue his attendance at strength and balance exercise classes in town. She arranged to visit the man and assess his home environment before seeking support from the rest of the team to get him ‘back on his feet’.

“For a man who lives on his own, it’s very important to him that he’s mobile and able to lead a full life. He wanted to be able to get out and socialise, continue his voluntary work and maintain a good level of independence,” Ms Van Den Broek says.

“The reasons why people have falls are many and varied. It could be due to medical reasons, reduced mobility and the environment that a person is living in, their diet, their medication, sight and/or hearing or a reduced ability to look after oneself.

“When we complete our assessments we’re looking at the wider picture and in doing so, often find ourselves referring a patient to other services such as a diabetes clinic or medication review.

“We advise people to request a referral during their next GP appointment, but if that’s not possible or practical, we suggest people phone our Falls Prevention Service directly on 06 348 3407.”