Ironbark and Falls Prevention

July 1, 2019

According to Injury Matters and the Department of Health, falls are one of the leading causes of hospitalisations for older Aboriginal people. Many of these injuries leading to the need for further treatment, rehab and it has been proven that once someone has suffered a fall, they are at a higher risk of another injury. SWAMS along with Curtin University have been delivering the Ironbark program for 5 months and has seen great improvement in the mobility of participants with many saying they feel more stable and confident on their feet since starting the program.

Ironbark is a group based yarning and exercise class that focuses on strength, balance and gait (how a person walks) and works with each individual to improve these factors. Participants are restricted to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people 45 years and over and are encouraged to commit to attending all sessions.

The main aims of the program are to establish the effectiveness of a community based falls prevention program, establish the impact of the program in areas such as quality of life, to establish a cost effective and low cost program for the community and to evaluate the successes overall by using an outcomes based approach. Facilitators have measured the success of the program by recording participant’s balance, sit to stand speed and time to complete a 4m walk. Other information is collected like weight and waist circumference. These outcomes are assessed and recorded at the start of the program, 3 months in and at 6 months. This gives participants an idea of how well the program is working for them as individuals.

One of the major contributing factors to falls is being overly aware or fearful of having a fall, so it is important to know falls are preventable. By keeping your body moving, looking after your health by eating a healthy diet and removing hazards around your home and community, you can decrease your chance of having a fall.

By designing a free, culturally safe program, IRONBARK has seen great success. Currently SWAMS runs the IronBark program Tuesdays from 10am – 12pm at the Hudson Road Family Centre.

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