A new collaboration between Care City and GaitSmart aims to improve the lives of those at falls risk by bringing gait analysis and remote exercise prescription, delivered by healthcare assistants and remote physios, to local GP practices.
Care City is one of five National Health and social care test beds, and is the only one in London. It spans four boroughs, Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest. The Care City Innovation Test Bed seeks to test a combination of devices and software alongside new approaches to service delivery and patient participation, to assess whether we can measurably improve the wellbeing and resilience of older people with long term conditions, older people with dementia, and their carers.
Falls cost the NHS at least £2bn. Falls prevention is therefore vitally important, both for patients and for the healthcare system. Care City is now working with GaitSmart, as part of the NHSE Test Bed to trial the introduction of gait analysis with personalised exercise prescription inside health and care services. In just 10 minutes, the process can identify issues with a person’s gait, allowing a proactive intervention to reduce risk of falls, long before they arrive in A and E.
During the assessment, six small sensors are applied by elasticated retaining straps to the pelvis, thighs and calves and the patient walks a few metres in a straight line. The resultant GaitSmart report contains kinematic data that identifies any movement issues, as well as the severity of those issues. The GaitSmart report is shared with a remote physiotherapist who creates a personalised exercise plan to target the problem areas. The personalised exercise plan provides exercises and daily activities that can easily be performed by the patient in the everyday lives that can help strengthen the gait of the patient and reduce their risk of falling. The patient’s gait is then re-tested on a monthly basis so that they can see their improvement, receive progressive exercises and activities and are motivated to continue with their exercise treatment.
John Craig, Chief Executive, Care City commented “This new approach to reducing falls risk puts the tools to assess gait (the way in which you walk and run) in the hands of our primary care system, enabling them to find people with gait issues, and help them, quickly and affordably, before their mobility deteriorates. The long-term vision is to give citizens an understanding of their own mobility, enabling them to exercise cheaply and easily - independently or socially - while benefiting from expertly calibrated exercises. We hope to keep more people more mobile for longer, reducing their risk of falls.”
Steve Goode, Head of GaitSmart clinics and client development commented “Every year, three million people over the age of 65 will experience a fall costing the health service in excess of £2.3bn. The GaitSmart system allows us to identify these patients quickly and easily, ascertain any areas of concern and to provide personalised exercise plans, to help improve or rectify the problem.”
Feedback to date shows that patients value the experience of GaitSmart gait analysis. It is quick, easy and can be conducted locally by someone the patient may well already know and puts the tools to managing their own health, in their own hands.