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Areas of Impact

HARG's research is having an impact in many ways. See how our researchers are making an impact through their projects.

Chris Todd

Uptake and adherence

Work led by Prof Todd has impacted uptake and adherence of falls prevention services in UK and worldwide.

Prior to our work, NHS and voluntary sector services presented themselves as falls prevention services. Our findings that older people reject personal risk but would be more likely to be motivated by positive benefits resulted in changes in the way services were presented.

Many services were rebadged from 'fall prevention' to 'healthy living'. Much of this came about through the publication of the booklet 'Don't mention the F-word', commissioned by Age UK.

In the Netherlands, the national Stichtung Consument en Veiligheid (Consumer & Safety Institute: CSI) had developed a TV campaign focused on risk and death from falls.

Based our research, the campaign management team recognised that the campaign was based on drawing attention to the threat of falls, but that our research shows the need to emphasise positive benefits rather than risk (threat).

They redesigned campaigns on falls prevention to emphasise benefits of staying active.

The WHO adopted our format when writing the 2007 WHO Global Report on Falls Prevention in Older Age, and our work is cited throughout the report, but especially in Chapter 4, which presents best practice on how to implement effective fall prevention campaigns. The WHO guidance reflects the findings of our work on uptake and adherence and is modelled on our recommendations paper (PDF).

Fear of falling

We developed the Falls Efficacy Scale International measures, which are now translated into multiple languages (FES-I and Short FES-I).

FES-I is generally recognised as the lead instrument in the field. The FES-I is widely used clinically to assess patients' fear of falling and as an outcome measure of interventions.

A survey of UK exercise instructors in 2013 reveals FES-I is used by 23% in clinical practice. Numerous hospital and community guidelines recommend use of FES-I.

Policy research

Chris leads the Older People and Frailty PRU and has written a number of briefings, which can be accessed through the PRU website. Relevant pages include:

Dawn Dowding

Dawn is a member of the RCN eHealth Forum steering committee and the British Computer Society Nursing Specialist Group steering committee.

She has been actively involved in developing a career structure framework for nurses interested in working in clinical informatics with NHS improvement, and highlighting digital roles and digital innovations in nursing with the RCN.

Elisabeth Boulton

Elisabeth is Chair of the Board of Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees where she oversees strategy, assists the Chief Executive officer with service plans and development, as well as working with the community team doing health promotion work. 

Elisabeth is also a member of Age UK's national Policy Panel, feeding into policy and campaigns work related to ageing. 

Alex Hall

Alex has written a briefing for parliamentarians summarising evidence and policy issues about electronic cigarettes as part of his Research Councils UK Policy Internship at the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (April to July 2016).

Helen Hawley-Hague

Helen's PhD research (Hawley et al, 2012 JAPA; Hawley-Hague et al, 2014 Gerontologist; Hawley-Hague et al, 2016 JAPA) has directly informed the content of Motivate Me later life training.

Her 2013 Otago pathway evaluation has led to recurrently funded services by NHS. Falls and fracture rates in Rotherham have reduced since 2010. In 2016, they are below the national average and she continues to support their falls service and falls exercise pathways.

Her work on using smartphones to support falls rehabilitation at home is showcased on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy website, and as a result her recently developed smartphone apps are being utilised by several rehabilitation and strength and balance services across England. See more information about the apps: Smartphone Apps to Support Falls Rehabilitation Exercise.

Jane McDermott

Jane has worked closely with the Centre for Ageing Better and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Ageing Hub to deliver the Raising the Bar on Strength and Balance: The importance of community provision report. She delivered a national roadshow of training and insight sessions with Public Health England.

More recent work with the GM Ageing Hub and GM Older People's Network has resulted in the delivery of the Keeping Well at Home booklet. This is a rapid response piece to support individuals asked to shield and self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The booklet has been distributed to nearly 70,000 older people living in Greater Manchester, but it has also been adapted nationally and sent to a further 50,000 people throughout the UK.

Lisa McGarrigle

Digital interventions have the potential to replace face-to-face exercise delivery, allowing older people who are physical distancing to continue to engage in strength and balance training and reduce falls risk.

Lisa has been working on a series of systematic reviews on digital interventions in falls prevention, with a focus on apps and websites to facilitate strength and balance exercises independently at home. This work was summarised in a PRU briefing for DHSC on falls prevention in the context of COVID-19.

Emma Stanmore

Emma conducts research into falls and rheumatoid arthritis and the use of exergames (gamified telerehabilitation) to improve function and prevent falls.

This has been featured in a number of BBC radio, regional television and newspaper/website interviews to raise public awareness of these important issues. The falls prevention exergames developed in collaboration with MIRA Rehab are being used in a number of centres in the UK and Europe.

Emma is also Director of KOKU Health, a University of Manchester spin-off community interest company, in collaboration with Reason Digital and the Masood Enterprise Centre.

The falls prevention and health literacy platform Keep On Keep Up is being used in the UK, EU and US to support older adults to maintain their independence and function.