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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds I’m here with Professor Julia Newton, who’s going to tell us a bit about falls. Julia, you’ve been working in a Falls Clinic in Newcastle for about 14 years. What progress have you seen within that time? Well, there’s been a lot of changes over the last 14 years and not only in terms of the number of patients that we see. So when I started off, we would see about 1,500 patients a year. And now we’re seeing over 5,000. But also the types of investigations that we do and the management that we now have for falls has changed dramatically as we’ve done more research, acquired more evidence, and now brought that evidence into a clinical practise.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second So that is a lot of patients per year that you see. What’s a typical patient that comes in? Well, that’s a really hard question because actually there isn’t a typical patient. If I think back to clinic last week, I saw a 16-year-old who had presented having fallen to the ground and 90-year-old patients. The week before, I actually saw a patient of over 100 years of age. So we see patients who present with falls across a whole range of different ages. Something that I get quite frustrated with sometimes and disappointed is when I see a patient in clinic who comes in and they say that their doctor or their family member told them that they’re falling because they’re getting old.

Skip to 1 minute and 42 seconds It’s disappointing, isn’t it? Oh, absolutely, because that doesn’t help the patient. What we recognise is that falls can happen to anybody. They’re more common as we get older, but it’s not a normal part of the ageing process. And there are treatments that we have available. So it’s really important that people recognise that falls can be prevented. So looking for the risk factors that increase the likelihood of you falling is really important because then we can actually begin to reduce the number of falls that are happening.

Skip to 2 minutes and 18 seconds And some people tend to bury their head in the sand because they don’t think they’re old enough to fall and they don’t think they’re frail enough to fall, perhaps because they’re worried that there’s a stigma attached to being someone who falls. Yeah, I think there is perhaps a stigma still out there, where people think that by having fallen that suggests that they’re old.

Skip to 2 minutes and 43 seconds When we consider the range of different types of patient and ages of patient we see in the clinic, that’s absolutely not the case. Falls can happen to anybody. And the difficulty is that when people have fallen, they tend to change the way they behave. They go out less because they’re worried, are they going to have another fall? And they become more socially isolated and as a result, they’re less able to live their life, which can be a real problem for people. So it’s fortunate then that we can do something for people who fall.

Skip to 3 minutes and 16 seconds Absolutely, there’s lots of things that we do in the clinic that we know, there’s very good evidence, that it reduces the risk of people going on and having a further fall. So come back next time, where we’ll learn more about falling from Julia.

Meet the expert: Professor Julia Newton

Over the following four weeks we will meet several experts in the field of falls. Dr James Frith will be interviewing our experts to get some useful advice and tips.

In our first video Professor Julia Newton explains how falls clinics have changed and developed over the years, what kinds of people are seen in falls clinics and the changing attitudes about people who fall.

We will be introduced to some simple ways to prevent falls, but we will visit these in more detail over the next four weeks.

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This video is from the free online course:

Ageing Well: Why Older People Fall

Newcastle University

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