Aged-care app aimed at cutting risk of falls

A new, clinically-tested home exercise app is being used by healthcare workers to improve balance and reduce fall risk among older Australians.

Each year, one-third of people aged over 65 experience a major fall, and half of those will fall again in the same year. This has led to falls being the leading cause of hospitalisation among older people.

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) developed StandingTall with the aim of reducing the number of falls. The app is now being used by three local area health precincts in NSW and Victoria.  Already, more than 500 patients are anticipating using it as part of clinical testing over the next six months.

Initial results have found older Australians using StandingTall for a recommended two hours each week for 12 months dramatically improve their balance and reduce their risk of falling by up to 30 per cent.

StandingTall features more than 2,000 unique, clinically vetted exercises. It enables patients to engage in their own, personalised home exercise program. It automatically provides data to health workers, enabling them to review a patient’s progress and provide more informed treatments, if required.

Senior NeuRA researcher Associate Professor Kim Delbaere, whose team designed the app, said StandingTall has been designed by scientists, researchers and health practitioners using the latest findings in neuroscience to help improve the wellbeing and quality of life of older Australians.

“The app brings a suite of fully tailored balance exercises to the home,” she said. “People love using StandingTall, and 85 per cent of users said integrating it into their daily routine has helped them improve their balance, confidence and overall health.”

The app will be promoted by the NSW government’s Agency for Clinical Innovation, and its use among clinicians, taskforces and institutes will be encouraged.

It is anticipated the public will have access to the app following the trials in NSW and Victoria. Residents in the northern NSW, mid North Coast NSW and Austin Health (Melbourne) areas can contact NeuRA or their local area health service if they are interested in using StandingTall.

 

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