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CHARR researchers have a strong track record of engagement in research and the development of programmes to impact upon the incidence of falls.

Our research is directly linked with the Otago Exercise programe developed by Campbell and Robertson in 2003. This was subsequently modified into the SAYGo peer led programme, involving CHARR researchers Debra Waters and Leigh Hale.

Our researchers are part of the newly funding, Otago Falls Network (OFN) An official University of Otago Research Network.

Tū Ora – Otago Falls Network

Project areas

Community led

Steady as you Go (SayGo)

Steady As You Go©, began in Otago in 2003. The programme uses exercises designed by physiotherapists, exercises from the Otago Exercise Programme, and exercises based on tai chi principles; mindfulness and controlled movement. The programme is run by AgeConcern and supported by Otago researchers. See AgeConcern's Steady As You Go website.

  • Wurzer B, Durkness E. Waters DL. The use of peer-led community-based programs to promote healthy aging. Curr Geri Rep 2017 6:202–211
  • Wurzer B, Waters DL, Robertson L, Hale B, Hale L. Integrating self-management of chronic conditions and falls prevention: a feasibility study. Australas J Ageing. 2016 Oct 12. doi: 10.1111/ajag.12356

Taurite Tū

Members of Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou (TRO) have designed this programme with physiotherapists and Māori movement experts to make a safe, engaging programme for any older Māori to join. Taurite Tū is an exercise programme especially designed for Māori aged 50 plus and their whānau.

Taurite Tū has been awarded a 2020 ACC-HRC Achieving Equity for Ageing Māori RFP. TRO intends to further investigate how the Taurite Tū template can be further used as a platform for ACC towards broadly achieving equitable outcomes in other areas of Aotearoa for ageing Māori in injury prevention, and improve access to ACC services and injury rehabilitative service

The research is led by Ms Katrina Bryant based within Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou and contributed to by Otago Falls researchers Leigh Hale and Debra Waters.

Urinary incontinence and falls

Dr Aldabe leads research exploring the relationship between Urinary incontinence and falls risk. She works with older adults and people living with neurological conditions. More on her work can be found at her dedicated study page.

Trials and intervention research

Remote Study Remote Evaluation of MObility via Telehealth

Telehealth is a model which may address these challenges. By increasing access to healthcare, via telehealth, practitioners can improve their patients' physical functioning and quality of life. There is no validated telehealth tool for assessing balance and gait of people with neurological disorders, especially people with balance disorders.
For further information see the dedicated study page or contact project leads Professor Leigh Hale or Dr Paulo Pelicioni (now at University of New South Wales)

Falls and Disability (PROFAID)

Many people with intellectual disability fall frequently. Educating adults with intellectual disability and their support workers of the importance of regular exercise is key to participation.

  • Hale, L., Vollenhoven, E., Caiman, L., Dryselius, A., & Buttery, Y. (2019). Feasibility and acceptability of Otago Exercise Programme and Prevention of Falls for Adults with Intellectual Disability: A multiple case study design. International Journal of Therapy & Rehabilitation, 26(6), 1-15. doi: 10.12968/ijtr.2018.0054
  • Hale, L. A., Mirfin-Veitch, B. F., & Treharne, G. J. (2016). Prevention of falls for adults with intellectual disability (PROFAID): A feasibility study. Disability & Rehabilitation, 38(1), 36-44. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2015.1017613

SUPER study – Staying upright and Eating Well

A multi-centre randomised controlled trial to examine the effect of a complex intervention in preventing frailty in pre-frail older adults (2016-2020). This trial was led by Dr Ruth Teh (University of Auckland) and funded by NSC Ageing Well. Profs Waters and Hale were part of the research team and led the study site in Invercargill.

  • Teh, R., Kerse, N., Waters, D. L., Hale, L., Pillai, A., Leilua, E., … Heppenstall, C., & Connolly, M. J. (2019). Study protocol of a randomised controlled trial to examine the impact of a complex intervention in pre-frail older adults. Aging Clinical & Experimental Research, 31, 1407-1417. doi: 10.1007/s40520-018-1106-7

Falls researchers and community leaders

CHARR, School of Physiotherapy

Prof Debra Waters
Prof Leigh Hale
Ms Katrina Bryant
Dr Daniela Aldabe
Dr Prasath Jayakaran

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