To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and the Acting Director of Public Health that provides information about the process undertaken to procure community based postural stability classes across the County, to ensure a consistent and equitable service.
Ms M Varshney, Consultant in Public Health, was in attendance for this item.
1. Ms Varshney introduced the report and pointed that the rate of falls among older people was higher in Kent than in neighbouring authority areas. The County Council was hence seeking to reduce the number of falls by introducing home improvements and increasing the support given to older people following their first fall, as statistically they were more likely to then have subsequent falls. The Kent Falls Prevention Management Framework had sought to identify the section of the population most at risk of falling, and the public health response to this had been to commission classes to improve older people’s postural stability. The Cabinet Committee was being asked to support and endorse the approach being taken. Ms Varshney and Mr Scott-Clark responded to comments and questions from Members and the following points were highlighted:-
a) there was some evidence that increasing the level of calcium and vitamin D in the diet, as part of a healthy lifestyle, would help reduce the likelihood of falling and fractures. Evidence had shown that, although winter was a time of higher risk of falls, many falls happened in people’s own homes. Mrs Tidmarsh added that telecare equipment in a person’s home could be part of the preventative measures;
b) older people who could benefit from postural stability classes could be referred direct to a class by any professional working with them. This could include staff of the Kent Fire and Rescue Service and housing providers. One speaker undertook to take up the idea and discuss the initiative in her division in places such as sheltered housing schemes;
c) the aim was to make every contact count, and public health would work with social care colleagues to identify and reach those who were ‘at risk’, to seek to prevent long-term loss of stability and confidence; and
d) twelve-week courses of postural stability classes had shown positive effects in starting to improve strength and stability, and a block of three sets of twelve weeks had been shown to make a positive difference. These 36-week blocks were offered at local facilities. Attendance at postural stability classes brought with it an opportunity for attendees to be offered other classes which might be of benefit to them, and the health check programme could help identify people who would benefit from various classes.
2. RESOLVED that the proposed commissioning approach and service model outlined in the report be endorsed.