How Measuring Outcomes Prevents Falls
Meet Linda Riley & Chris Morrison
Linda is the Fitness Manager and Chris is a trainer at North Hill, a senior living community in Massachusetts which includes a 10,000 square foot fitness center. They teach fitness classes and work with seniors individually to help them build strength and increase their level of balance. One of the most important programs at North Hill is a Balance Clinic aimed at reducing falls and supporting the quality of life for their residents.
Q: Why is the Balance Clinic such an important part of the health classes you offer at North Hill?
A: Fall prevention is really important because we know how drastically a fall can affect our residents’ quality of life. Most of our residents are quite active and not really thinking about balance when they first come here. When we get them on the HUR SmartBalance and run an assessment, many are surprised by how their balance is deteriorating. This allows us to create a program for them early – before they fall, or before their lack of balance starts to prevent them from doing what they love.
“They quickly notice how their improved balance is making the rest of their life easier.”
Q: How do you incorporate the HUR SmartBalance with your Fall Prevention Programs?
A: When a resident first comes to us, we do a health assessment and introduce them to all the equipment in our facility, including the SmartBalance. It’s not difficult to get residents to try it out. They are usually already curious about it. Once they realize how user friendly it is and how fun the games are, they use it all the time! The assessment score is really motivating. They get competitive with themselves and try to beat their last score. But, they also quickly notice how their improved balance is making the rest of their life easier, and that motivates them even more.
Q: Has the HUR SmartBalance had an impact on how you measure outcomes data?
A: Absolutely. Measuring outcomes is actually something that was missing in our overall fitness program until we installed HUR strength training machines and the HUR SmartBalance. With standard exercise equipment, the only metrics we could use was how much weight residents were using and how many reps they could do. Not only are these metrics incomplete, they require manual tracking and record keeping that we simply don’t have the time to maintain. But, HUR does it for us. It automatically records and tracks the progress of individuals as well as our entire population over time.
“With the help of the HUR SmartBalance my ankles are stronger. I am more aware of the muscles in my feet and how to distribute the weight evenly which has helped improve my balance. – AL at North Hill
Q: Besides training on the HUR SmartBalance, what other services are a part of your Fall Prevention Program?
A: The foundation of our fall prevention program is the Balance Clinic. We take participants through fun obstacle courses, balance challenges and various strength and conditioning exercises that simulate activities they might engage in outside of class. Because we serve a diverse population, we keep classes small and do our best to customize the actives for different ability levels. We also have an aerobics studio with a bar that we use often – especially for exercises such as standing on one foot.