A successful partnership project operating across Kingston and Richmond that has already helped 20 elderly residents maintain their independence after a fall, is expanding into GP practices, nursing homes and Teddington Memorial Hospital, thanks to members of the community giving their time to volunteer. This next phase of the project will aim to support around 120 patients a year.
The project, which matches trained volunteers with people who need support to complete exercises following a fall or injury, launched in October 2021. Through this initiative, volunteers can spend up to eight weeks supporting patients at home by helping them to complete their exercises safely. With many of these people living alone, the patients have spoken positively about the social and emotional benefits of having regular contact with someone, as well as benefiting from the practical support.
Falls are one of the biggest issues resulting in hospital admission. In fact, 1 in 3 people aged over 65 will fall each year and is the leading cause of death in people aged over 75 in the UK.
Not only does this piece of work benefit frail and elderly people by helping them to get better through the kindness and talent of those giving their time, but the volunteers themselves also see an improvement in the quality of their lives.”Bianca Larch, Volunteering Community & Outreach Manager at Kingston Hospital
Bianca Larch, Volunteering Community & Outreach Manager at Kingston Hospital, manages the project, she explains:
“This project is such a fantastic example of volunteering making a huge impact in the community. Not only does this piece of work benefit frail and elderly people by helping them to get better through the kindness and talent of those giving their time, but the volunteers themselves also see an improvement in the quality of their lives. This is a prime example of how volunteers working alongside NHS staff can make a tangible difference.
“We are always looking for more volunteers, so I would encourage anyone that has time and the inclination to get involved, to get in touch to find out more.”
The project was initially funded by charities Helpforce and Kingston Hospital Charity. In 2022 it received an Inspiration Fund Award from Kingston Hospital which has enabled the extension of the programme.
The project has proved so successful, Helpforce is now working with five other hospitals trusts which are adopting and adapting the Kingston Hospital Falls Prevention: Community Exercise Volunteering service model.
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