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Falls Service

Who are we?

We are a specialist Falls and Balance Clinic based at the Clara Cross Centre, St Martin’s Hospital, Bath.

We aim to provide you with advice, support and treatment if you have a difficulty with balance, you are at risk of falling, or you have had an unexplained fall.

You will usually be referred to us by your GP, and we will usually offer you an appointment to be seen in our clinic, for a full Falls Assessment. This may involve seeing a specialist Doctor, Nurses and other professionals, such as Physiotherapists (PT) and Occupational Therapists (OT).  Rehabilitation Support Workers may also work with you to achieve your goals.  If you need to see an OT, they will usually visit you at home.  We are also offering telephone and video consultations, alongside face to face appointments.

Not everyone will require every assessment or person to see them – what happens when you attend the clinic will depend upon your needs.

The purpose of this assessment is to help identify why you may be having difficulty with your balance, or the reason for your high risk of falls, including your risk of osteoporosis.  People can fall for a variety of reasons, for example:

  • medication
  • muscle strength and coordination changes
  • inner ear issues
  • their environment, etc.

Once you have been assessed, you may be offered a number of different treatment and rehabilitation options. For example, making changes to your medication, carrying out a physical exercise programme (either individually or in a group), offering specialist inner ear treatment, or identifying ways to make every day activities a little easier and safer.

Your visit to the Falls clinic may take an hour and a half.  You will receive an appointment letter prior to your visit, which will let you know who you are seeing at the clinic. A Personal detail summary, pre-clinic assessment form and osteoporosis questionnaire will be sent with your appointment letter – please bring these to the clinic, along with your list of medications.

See below for further information about getting referred and referral criteria.

For general information about falls, please follow this link: Falls – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

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Where are we based?

The Clara Cross Centre is at St Martin’s Hospital, Clara Cross Lane, Bath, BA2 5RP.

There is designated free parking outside the Clara Cross Centre if you enter via the Frome Road entrance (opposite Sainsbury’s). There is also more free parking on the site, if you enter via the Midford Road entrance. Generally there are plenty of spaces to park, so you do not need to arrive early for your appointment.

Google maps reference: BA2 5RP – Google Maps

Transport

If you require transport to access the clinic, please see information here: Transport and getting to the falls clinic 2022

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Meet the team

Specialist Falls Doctors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Kerr, Specialist Falls Consultant

Where required, we will carry out a full medical assessment with you, which will look at your falls history, medical and medication history, and many other associated areas.

We may carry out a ’tilt table test’. Please read the information leaflet here: Tilt table test 2022

You may also be asked to wear an ‘R test’, which is a portable automatic, ECG recorder. This may be required to monitor your heart patterns over 7 days. Further information can be found here: patient_guide___rtest4__v4_01_08_2018_mrn097__1_894.pdf (novacor.co.uk)

Nurses and Nursing Assistant:

Angela, Falls Clinic Nurse

Teresa, Nursing Assistant

Upon referral to the Falls Clinic, you will have a comprehensive Falls Nursing assessment, which may be carried out in the clinic or by telephone. This will help us to identify any health factors which may increase your risk of falls, which we will then address as appropriate.

We will look at your bone health and calculate your risk of fractures, by calculating your risk of osteoporosis (FRAX score), and discuss the most appropriate action with you.

We provide advice and education as required in areas such as diet, hydration, alcohol intake, smoking cessation, and bladder & bowel management.

We may refer you on to other agencies if required, such as the Bladder and Bowel Service, Healthy Lifestyle Service, or Community Nurses.

Or, we may signpost you to other community services if appropriate.

Frequent procedures may include:

  • Lying and standing blood pressure
  • Height
  • Weight
  • ECG (assessment of your heart rate and rhythm)

 

Physiotherapists:

Ruth, Falls Clinic and Vestibular Physiotherapist

Andrea, Falls Clinic Physiotherapist

 

My name is Ruth and I am one of the three part-time physiotherapists in the Falls Clinic at St Martins Hospital.

Appointments are held at the clinic, where we assess your balance and also assess any changes in the strength or sensation that you need to help you balance. We look at how you are walking and moving and can offer advice on activities such as getting up from a chair or using a walking aid. We usually suggest exercises for you to carry out at home, and tailor a programme specifically to your needs. We also address sensory conditions that affect your balance, for instance with specific exercises for inner ear balance issues.

If suitable, you will be offered  a short course of exercises sessions to help you get started with your exercise programme. These sessions are usually held with one of our two support workers who are experienced in teaching exercises.

We always take into account what you are hoping to achieve with our help.  When we can offer you options such as group exercise sessions, or referral on to other services, and this will always be discussed with you.

 

Occupational Therapist:

Karen, Falls Clinic Occupational Therapist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occupational Therapy Video

My name is Karen and I’m an Occupational Therapist working in the Falls and Balance Clinic at St Martin’s Hospital in Bath.

My role is to support you to maintain your safety and independence in the activities that you complete on a day-to-day basis, from when you get up in the morning to when you go to bed at night. You may be having more difficulty getting around your home due to a change in mobility or you may have lost confidence in some activities because of a fall or feeling unbalanced.

If you are referred to the Occupational Therapist you will usually be contacted first by telephone for a brief assessment of your needs. This will usually be completed by a support worker or occupational therapy assistant. The occupational therapist may then visit you at home to talk through any specific difficulties you might have and find solutions to problems with general mobility and balance. This might include showing you a different way of doing something such as getting in/ out of bed or providing you with a piece of equipment to make life easier. Rails or adaptations might be provided.

With a few simple changes and professional advice the aim is to improve your safety and confidence and help reduce the risk of you falling at home.

You might find it useful to complete your own home hazard check using our Home environment checklist  or for general tips, our Home Safety Advice.

 

Rehabilitation Support Workers:

Elaine, Falls Clinic RSW

Heather, Falls Clinic RSW

Julie, Falls Clinic RSW

Susie, Falls Clinic RSW

We are a team of Rehabilitation Support Workers, working alongside Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and other clinicians.

Our role is to provide person-centred care, to support you to maintain your independence and safety at home. This could be through providing equipment in your home, or by facilitating individual exercise programmes, or group sessions in clinic.

You may see us in clinic, in your own home or via a video link.

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How to access the Falls service

You will need to be referred by your GP, or you may be referred to the clinic from another health or social care professional.

If you are concerned about your balance or falls, speak to your GP first. They may be able to help advise you, and may agree with you that a referral to the Falls Clinic is the best option.

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Your appointments

Please bring:

  • medication information and any relevant prescriptions
  • glasses
  • hearing aids
  • any mobility aids/equipment you use for walking

You are very welcome to bring someone with you to all of your appointments.

Transport:

If you are unable to get to the clinic for your appointment due to transport, please contact your GP.

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How to contact us

For general appointment enquiries, or if you wish to contact your therapist (i.e. your physiotherapist or occupational therapist), please use the following telephone number:

  • 0300 247 0200 (Care Coordination Centre)

“Staff are very sympathetic and courteous.”

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