Monday 18 July 2016

Patient and public learning: free, online course

Every day almost 10,000 people aged over 65 will fall down in the UK alone. The personal cost is staggering. To empower those at risk of falling, ‘Ageing Well: Falls’, a course designed by NIHR clinical academics, will run again.

Every day almost 10,000 people aged over 65 will fall down, in the UK alone. The personal cost is staggering; with falls resulting in injury, broken bones, fear of falling again, and social isolation.

Falls occur due to a complex mix of factors. To reduce the number of falls we experience, it is important to identify these factors and recognise that they could be linked to underlying medical problems that while may be serious, are also treatable.

This online course that has been designed by clinical academics from Newcastle University is aimed at people who feel at risk of falls, or those who work closely with vulnerable people who are prone to falls. The aim is to empower participants to understand what you can do to prevent falls and also what you can do if you have experienced a fall.

The course has been designed and delivered by experts in this area who work closely with patients as Consultant Physicians in the Falls and Syncope Service at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital.

Professor Julia Newton is also Professor of Ageing and Medicine and Dr James Frith is Clinical Senior Lecturer, both at Newcastle University.

In addition to their roles in Newcastle University, they both work in patient facing positions for the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, so content for this course has been created not only through research, but through an in-depth understanding of patient needs.

Dr James Frith commented: “I have a lot of experience working face to face with individuals who have suffered a fall. Often, these falls were preventable and when we examined common causes more closely, it was clear that we could help reduce the risk and fear for many people, by creating a bank of knowledge that was accessible to the public. This is how the Ageing Well: Falls course came about.”

Patient-centred learning

Newcastle University’s Medical Faculty has an excellent reputation for engaging public and patients in research and delivery of care. Along with a number of engagement events held throughout the year, people can also get directly involved in research; either as a patient, or as a member of the public.

The creation of free, online courses that have been designed with the public in mind is just another way for Newcastle University’s Medical Faculty to reach out to the public and share the knowledge gained from research.

Dr Frith added: “We wanted to be very clear at the start of this course that it was aimed at any level of education.

The first two times we ran this course we received fantastic feedback that proves we have pitched the tone and content right, and due to this success, we are repeating it once again.

We know autumn and winter can be an extremely fraught time for people at risk of falls, so we hope that by offering this course in September, we can give people the tools and the confidence to get out and about without the fear of being even more vulnerable in the harsh weather conditions.”

To sign up to the course which starts on 5th September 2016, visit the Future Learn website.

For more information on ageing research at Newcastle University, visit the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing.