Juniper joins forces with UWA for falls prevention project - Juniper
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Juniper joins forces with UWA for falls prevention project

An innovative community falls prevention project which aims to educate older people about preventing the risks of falls at home is currently being rolled out to more than 100 Juniper Home Care customers.

Funded by the HCF Research Foundation, the project uses a “train the trainer” modelled by a team of researchers from the University of Western Australia, working with Juniper staff to deliver the program to Home Care customers.

As part of the project, Juniper has selected two Falls Champions to coordinate training to Home Care staff – Juniper Physiotherapy Lead Bernie Wong and Occupational Therapy Lead Kesha Logan, together with UWA project manager Vanessa Jessup.

Bernie, Kesha and three Juniper physiotherapists will be the first to receive the initial training, with this knowledge shared with staff who can then deliver the program to home care customers.

“We will be using the ‘train the trainer’ model. As the Champions we will train the Therapy Assistants and the Community Support Workers, and they will be the ones who will carry out the education, exercises and different recommendations with the customers.”

Bernie said Juniper was thrilled to be involved in the research project which supports the work already being done by the Home Care team.

“Not only does the program complement what we already do really well through our Home Care services, but it also reinforces the importance of providing falls prevention education to our customers who are still living at home,” he said.

“We want to keep our customers at home for as long as possible, and programs like this aim to support them to maintain their independence, while also keeping them safe, in their home and community.”

UWA Lead Researcher Dr Jacqueline Francis-Coad said a significant concern is the risk of falls that can lead to serious injuries, resulting in reduced mobility and a loss of independence which, for some older people, results in a move to long-term residential aged care.

“We’ve worked with older adults and staff in a range of health care settings and found that preventing falls is not always well understood.”

Dr Francis-Coad added that providing personalised education and exercise programs that can be delivered by trained staff to older people in the comfort of their own homes was a great alternative to videos, posters and booklets.

The program, which was co-designed with Juniper customers, is due to be rolled out in April and will continue until late 2025.

“Training community therapy assistants and home care support workers to deliver the programs means they could be included as part of usual home visits,” she said.

The project is one of six Australian studies to receive funding from HCF Foundation’s 2023 Translation Research Grant in a bid to address crucial health and wellbeing concerns among older people.