WDHB implements new role to support its work around falls prevention

30 October 2017


Caption: Whanganui DHB occupational therapist Nicole Jordan.

Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) occupational therapist Nicole Jordan has a new role as a member of WDHB’s Falls Prevention Team and, as a lead agent (funded by ACC) responsible for supporting community strength and balance programmes for the elderly to ensure they are evidence based and can make a difference.


Ms Jordan says ACC, WDHB and community agencies are working in partnership to help elderly Whanganui residents prevent falls because “we know how debilitating they are for those who have them and we recognise that it makes sense for all parties to work together to help people strengthen their legs and improve their balance to assist them to remain active.


“Besides causing harm, pain and suffering, falls have a huge impact on a person’s overall quality of life and their confidence and ability to mobilise independently.”


Ms Jordan says ACC and the WDHB want to see any groups who offer community-based exercise classes for the elderly to be able to show that they have the ACC ‘tick’ of approval - proof that their exercise regime is promoting the right exercises to help improve an older person’s strength and balance.


“I’m looking forward to meeting with those offering physical activities for the elderly,” Ms Jordan says. “I’m encouraged that the message people need to exercise to maintain their strength and balance is being heard.


“It’s widely accepted that from the day we’re born we need to exercise for the benefit of our health and wellbeing. But where I think we’ve seen a big change is – people now understand how important it is to maintain exercise when you’re older and more likely to suffer harm from a fall.”


Wearing her occupational therapist hat, Ms Jordan will work with the other members of the Falls Prevention Team which include a physiotherapist and registered nurse who together, provide multi-disciplinary assessment and in-home strength and balance exercise for those too frail to attend a community-based exercise class.