Strength and balance classes

Bristol Community Health delivers strength and balance exercise programmes in Bristol’s local communities. The service provides targeted physiotherapy group exercise for adults who are at risk of falling or have been referred following a fall. The programme lasts 12 weeks and sessions will be delivered by a physiotherapist providing strength and balance exercises, and education for the prevention of falls.

What does this service do?

Patients are offered a 12 week strength and balance programme (community group) designed to increase physical capability and confidence, improve balance, and reduce fear of falling.

Patients may also be provided with signposting or referral to other appropriate services including access to 1:1 physiotherapy.

Patients attend the Strength and Balance Group sessions attend for 12 weeks, once weekly, for two hours.

Each group session involves 1 hour of individually tailored exercise. For the first 6 weeks, this is followed by a further hour focused on strategies to reduce future risk of falling. Strategies are delivered through a combination of education on falls prevention, encouraging socialisation and relaxation techniques all designed to address patients’ fear of falling.

On completion of the 12 week programme patients are encouraged to continue evidence based falls prevention exercise through a home exercise programme and by maintaining activity within their local community. This may be in the form of ‘Postural Stability Instructor’ led classes in partnership with local health centres. The falls pathway enables patients to reach the recommended 50+ hours of strength and balance required to prevent falls in the long term.

Who is this service for?

  • Patients registered with a Bristol GP practice.
  • Patients who would benefit from a 12 week programme of exercise in the local community delivered by a Physiotherapist providing exercise and education for the prevention of falls.
  • Referrals are accepted that meet the referral criteria following completion of a Bristol Community Health multifactorial risks assessment (MFRA) by a Health Professional or following assessment by Specialist Falls Services.
  • This service provides targeted physiotherapy group exercise for adults referred following a fall or who are at risk of falling.

To see how physiotherapy reduces falls, addresses frailty and restores independence please download the CSP Physiotherapy Works article on the left hand side of this page.

Who is at the group sessions?

  • A senior physiotherapist with specialism in delivering exercise to older people at risk of falling
  • A therapy assistant providing support to the physiotherapist and patients
  • Up to 12 patients attending any one session

Where and when do sessions run?

The courses run throughout the year, they are closed groups once the initial session has taken place so that all patients start and end the 12 weeks together. Our programmes run on varying days and times between Tuesday and Thursday.

There are 3 groups running across Bristol, one in each locality of the City:

  • North Bristol
  • South Bristol
  • Central and East Bristol

Patients have the choice of where they would like to attend.

Do patients need their own transport?

For patients who do not have their own transport, options will be explored to provide the most appropriate means to access the community site. Transport can be provided where necessary.

Please consider this prior to referral so that the patient can access community sites. Patient may require access to a wheelchair or could be considered for a Blue Badge:

How can I access this service?

Referral requires completion of:

  • Bristol Community Health multi-factorial risks assessment (MFRA) by a health professional or an assessment by a Specialist Falls Service.
  • A completed check list of inclusion and exclusion criteria available within the referral paperwork on Bristol Community Health Website.
  • Bristol Community Health Community Therapy Referral form which details patient’s contacts, NOK, GP, and referrer contact details and is followed with a list of client’s medical history and latest medication.

Referrals need to be sent to Knowle Clinic Therapy department – the address is at the top of this page.

Referrals will be triaged by a therapist. Any missing information on the referral will be returned to the referrer to follow up.

Tell us what you think

Bristol Community Health would like to learn from your experience of this service. Your comments and suggestions will help us see what we are doing well and what we could improve. To give feedback please click here.

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