Falling can cause injury, pain, loss of confidence and loss of independence. This is undesirable for the individual and their families and places significant demands on health and social care services. Falls are not inevitable. By improving an individual’s strength and balance, alongside skills to help getting up from a fall (should this happen), the likelihood of a fall occurring or having damaging consequences, such as a long lie on the floor, can be minimised.
The Falls Management Exercise (FaME) programme is a group-based, face-to-face, six-month exercise programme specifically aimed at improving the strength and balance of people aged 65 and over. Research has shown that FaME results in fewer falls, improved confidence, and reduced fear-of-falling. Despite this, FaME is still not available everywhere across England. More needs to be understood about how best to increase its availability and ensure high-quality delivery.
To improve our understanding of this, we previously studied FaME’s set-up, delivery and quality in the East Midlands. We learnt a lot about how to get FaME running and showed that the programmes worked outside of a research setting. Using learning from the East Midlands, we developed a guide for implementing FaME called the implementation toolkit. This evidence-based toolkit contains all the information needed to set up and run a FaME programme, from making the initial business case to promoting it to participants. We now want to use this toolkit to see if FaME can be made more available in two new, and very different, regions: Greater Manchester and Devon. We will also assess whether FaME works in these populations, particularly if adaptations are necessary due to COVID-19.
- Understand how best to increase the availability of FaME in two new areas and assess the role that the toolkit plays in this. Using the toolkit we will work with local experts to promote FaME to organisations that decide what health services should be funded locally.
- Study the delivery of FaME in the new areas and see if programmes work in these populations by measuring improvements in participating individuals.
- Test ways of maintaining the quality of FaME programmes over time. Working with Later Life Training, a national not-for-profit organisation with expertise in FaME, we will measure the quality of programmes and test what works to make them better.
As well as academic outputs, the results of this study will enable us to assess the success of FaME implementation, revise the implementation toolkit and specify a national adoption and spread plan for FaME.
The NIHR National Priorities Programme
Professor Claire Hulme; University of Exeter
Professor Liz Orton, Professor Denise Kendrick, Professor Stephen Timmons, Professor Carol Coupland, Professor Pip Logan; University of Nottingham
Professor Tash Masud; Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Professor Chris Todd; Dr Helen Hawley Hague, Dr Paul Wilson; University of Manchester
Professor Dawn Skelton; Glasgow Caledonian University:
Margaret Beetham; PPIE Representative
Health Innovation Manchester
Later Life Training
Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport