17 Jun Physiotherapy students contribute to National Implementation Trial
Physiotherapy students on placement at the Lismore UCRH during 2021 are assisting in prototyping an exercise program that will be delivered in hundreds of residential aged care facilities (RACF) across 11 primary health networks (PHN), nationally. Students are testing resources designed to assist allied health professionals to implement the Sunbeam exercise program, and providing data on user experience, including ways to improve the design and language of the resources. They have also provided qualitative data from the residents to continuously improve the program.
This work stemmed from a clinical trial that was conducted from the NSW Northern Rivers between 2012 and 2016 and demonstrated that resistance and balance exercise, prescribed and progressed by a physiotherapist, led to a 55% reduction in falls rate and an improvement in physical performance1. Since then, students at UCRH Northern Rivers Clinical School have assisted to continuously improve and evolve the program, while on placement, through their “Placement Projects”. The students’ work has been displayed (and acknowledged) at national and international falls prevention conferences and they continue to support the practical translation of this evidence- based program. Students have created and measured the effects of new ways to make the program sustainable and increase residents’ enjoyment, adherence to and participation in the exercise, for the long term. Examples include, “The Man Plan” which evolved the program to appeal to male residents (a minority group in many villages). The picture below shows some of the new exercises co-designed by students and the men themselves.
Other creative student projects have tested resident enjoyment when the balance exercises are replaced by dancing.