The evaluation of a strength and balance exercise program for falls prevention in community primary care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Downloads (Pure)


We aimed to evaluate a strength and balance program delivered in the community. There is little evidence of implementation of evidence based exercise in practice.
The program was a step-down model, designed to encourage long-term exercise in community classes. The program consisted of a fully-funded referral only evidence-based 12-week strength and balance (Community Otago) class, followed by an evidence-based continuous open-access community strength and balance class (Active Always). The program was offered to 1) patients after formal falls rehabilitation (Falls and Fracture service) 2) patients after falls rehabilitation in intermediate care 3) patients referred by GPs who were not eligible for rehabilitation (preventative measure). Outcome evaluation used descriptive statistics to report changes in function, confidence in balance, hospital attendance/admission for falls/fractures and transition to community classes. Focus groups established participant experience/satisfaction. Seventy-nine participants were included, aged 56 to 96, 53 (67%) were women. 63.3% of patients transitioned to Active Always classes, demonstrating improvement in maintenance. Follow-up scores from baseline attendance at Falls and Fracture service to 12-weeks follow-up (24 weeks) in Community Otago showed the majority of patients improved their function (Timed up and Go), confidence (ConfBal) and lowered their falls risk (Tinetti). Follow-up of participants from Community Otago baseline to the end of 12-weeks showed improvement in function and confidence, but only a third of participants lowered their falls risk. Focus groups data suggests continuity of delivery, the role of the instructor, health professional, social and physical outcomes were essential for maintenance. A supportive environment can be created which encourages older adults’ continued participation in group-based strength and balance, helping the delivery of evidence-based practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number8
Early online date7 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'The evaluation of a strength and balance exercise program for falls prevention in community primary care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this