A learning pack developed in partnership between NHS Ayrshire & Arran and South Ayrshire Council aimed at helping older people avoid falls has scooped a prestigious national award.
'Positive Steps' won the Achieving Excellence in Learning and Development category in the 2012 Advancing Healthcare Awards. It's the second national award for the innovative 'Positive Steps' learning pack, having already won the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) national 'Dragons' Den' competition in October 2011.
The development of the 'Positive Steps' pack was led by Dr Heather Hall, NHS Ayrshire & Arran's Falls Lead Practitioner and Physiotherapist, in partnership with Vera Kidd from South Ayrshire Council and Morag Kirk from NHS Ayrshire & Arran's Resource Centre. This initiative is an example of successful joint working on falls prevention between NHS Ayrshire & Arran and South Ayrshire Council.
The Advancing Healthcare Award judges commented that 'Positive Steps' was: "Simple, effective and clear cross-partnership working at its best. They consulted and listened to users; ensured that their work was fully evaluated and had a vision for the future. And it is so transferable that it could be implemented everywhere."
Sheltered housing wardens have been using 'Positive Steps' with their residents to raise awareness on how to avoid falls. The resource includes a learning box with hand-held teaching aids – for example, a good shoe, laminated slides and a training script that provides positive messages about falls prevention.
Dr Heather Hall said: "This is great news that 'Positive Steps' has won another national award. We truly believe that this is an invaluable product in helping older people avoid falls.
"Each year a third of over 65s will suffer a fall which can deeply affect a person's confidence and they also have a huge impact on health services. We want to do everything we can to help older people avoid falling and 'Positive Steps' will help achieve this.
"We worked with our local authority colleagues, carers and older people to find out what kind of information would help them recognise the danger signs of falls and how to prevent them. The feedback we received has been very positive, with many people saying how much they enjoyed learning in an informal setting, and sharing their experiences of falls with others."
Councillor Rita Miller, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Social Services agreed and added: "Older people want to remain fit, active and independent and we're committed to supporting them to achieve this.
"Positive Steps really helps through focused appropriate help and guidance to those people who need it most, boosting their confidence and raising awareness of potential hazards to be avoided. In addition, it offers others a chance to share their experiences of a fall, in turn helping them cope with what happened."
Billy McClean, NHS Ayrshire & Arran's Head of Physiotherapy, said: "We are immensely proud of Heather's achievement and the continuing success of 'Positive Steps'. We look forward to supporting her in taking this innovative product to other parts of Ayrshire and Arran and beyond."
Councillor Philip Saxton, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Housing added: "The project has really helped empower older people in Sheltered Housing by giving them the knowledge and information needed to help them prevent a trip or a fall. This enables them to lead independent lives, and boosts their self-confidence which makes a real difference to them on a day to day basis."
Councillor Miller concluded: "We're confident Positive Steps can make it a hat-trick, but whatever the outcome, I'd like to thank our colleagues in NHS Ayrshire and Arran for all their work in developing Positive Steps.
"The real winners in this excellent initiative are our older residents who will feel safer, more secure and confident as a result of this award winning learning resource pack."
For a free, electronic version of 'Positive Steps' visit: www.healthinfoshop.scot.nhs.uk