In the Kimberley region of Western Australia 32 per cent of Aboriginal people who are aged 45 and over fell at least once in 2012 and 46 per cent were identified as being at risk of falling (KHAP 2013). This compares with approximately 30 per cent of the general Australian population older than 65 years experiencing a fall every year and a significant proportion of these lead to injury (AIHW: Bradley, 2013). Having a fall can also impact an older person’s ability to manage everyday activities and may ultimately mean they cannot live independently in the community.
The evidence for reducing falls and fall-related injuries by applying falls prevention strategies is strong but implementation in real world settings remains a challenge. Making falls prevention education local and context specific is vital in remote areas, where access to face to face education is challenged by geographical isolation.
In 2015, The National Ageing Research Institute received a Rural Health Continuing Education Grant to partner with Kimberley Aged and Community Services to develop and deliver a falls education package in Broome and Kununurra. The content included internationally recognised evidence for falls prevention and was underpinned by data obtained from the Kimberley Healthy Adults Project as well as local practice wisdom. The Kimberley Healthy Adults Project (KHAP), a NHMRC funded study led by The WA Centre for Health and Ageing in 2013, focused on exploring the prevalence of chronic health conditions in the population of older Aboriginal people living in remote areas of the Kimberley region. The study examined, amongst other things, the rates of and risk of falls and injury, in order to understand predictors and to identify interventions that could protect older Aboriginal people from experiencing them. The education package delivered, aimed to build the capacity of health and community service staff to identify and respond to modifiable risk factors and in turn to keep older people independent within their community.
This presentation will provide an overview of the model used to develop a context specific falls-education package for clinicians and Home and Community Care workers working in remote Aboriginal communities throughout the Kimberley; and the outcomes of the project.