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JFSF Vol 8, No 1, March 2023, p.9-22

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-08-009


Original Article

Instructor and client views of a community falls prevention service and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative exploration of a service in England

Leah Jayes1, Joanne R. Morling2, Sophie Carlisle3, Ilze Bogdanovica2, Tessa Langley2

  1. Institute of Health and Allied Professions, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Nottingham, UK
  2. Lifespan and Population Health, School of Medicine, The University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, UK
  3. Section of Women’s Mental Health, Department of Health Service and Population Research, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Kings College London, London, UK

Keywords: COVID-19, Exercise, Falls Prevention, Frailty


Objectives: Falls are the most common cause of injury related deaths in people over 75 years. The aim of this study was to explore the experience of providers (instructors) and service users (clients) of a fall’s prevention exercise programme and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Derbyshire, UK. Methods: Ten one-to-one interviews with class instructors and five focus groups with clients (n=41). Transcripts were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: Most clients were initially motivated to attend the programme to improve their physical health. All clients reported improvements in their physical health as a result of attending the classes; additional benefits to social cohesion were also widely discussed. Clients referred to the support provided by instructors during the pandemic (online classes and telephone calls) as a ‘life-line’. Clients and instructors thought more could be done to advertise the programme, especially linking in with community and healthcare services. Conclusions: The benefits of attending exercise classes went beyond the intended purpose of improving fitness and reducing the risk of falls, extending into improved mental and social wellbeing. During the pandemic the programme also prevented feelings of isolation. Participants felt more could be done to advertise the service and increase referrals from healthcare settings.
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