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Dr Kim Delbaere, Profs Steve Lord and Jacqueline Close

Falls, Balance and Injury

RESEARCH CENTRE

FALLS, BALANCE AND INJURY RESEARCH CENTRE

The Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre (FBIRC), directed by Professor Stephen Lord, conducts research into understanding human balance, fall risk factors and strategies for prevention of falls in older people.

Falls are a major contributor to the burden of disease in older people and a major public health problem and clinical groups with balance disorders. Maintaining balance involves highly complex processing of peripheral sensory information and precise coordination of motor responses. Falls result from the complex interplay between impairments in these physiological functions, pathological ageing and the environments we negotiate on a daily basis. There can be myriad contributing factors, including drugs affecting cognitive function, deconditioning due to inactivity; disease processes such as Parkinson’s disease and stroke; and syndromes such as dementia and delirium.

One of the most serious consequences of a fall is a hip fracture. There are approximately 20,000 hip fractures in Australia every year. A hip fracture is a devastating injury for an older person and for many results in pain and lasting disability which directly impacts on the ability to live independently. For some a hip fracture can result in a move to residential care or death.

Preventing falls and effectively managing fall related injury is a key research and health priority. The Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre (FBIRC) was established in 2014 and brings together complimentary research of three senior research groups at NeuRA led by Professor Stephen Lord (Centre Director)Professor Jacqueline Close (Clinical Director) and A/Prof Kim Delbaere (Director, Innovation and Translation) addressing fall and fall injury prevention and management.

The overarching aims of the FBIRC involve:

(i) the accurate documentation of falls and fall injuries

(ii) the identification of fall risk factors

(iii) the development of feasible fall prevention strategies and iv) the effective management of people with a fall related injury.

Our falls and injury epidemiology research uses multiple health service databases to examine predisposing factors for injurious falls and changes in patterns of fall injury over time. Our fall risk studies aim to enhance our understanding of human balance and involve investigations of sensory and motor contributions, behavioural factors as well as the contribution of disease processes to falls. Our fall prevention research incorporates components from physiotherapy, exercise physiology, psychology, brain imaging and computer software engineering. These studies comprise:

(i) large randomised controlled trials in people at increased risk of falls (i.e. those with dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis),

(ii) projects exploring technology-based solutions to prevent falls in older people, and

(iii) projects examining interrelationships among physical, psychological and cognitive factors in older people.

Our effective management of people with a fall related injury focuses predominantly on hip fracture care and includes work on how to best implement effective care in hospitals across Australia.

Specific projects are outlined in the NeuRA Group Leader pages of the Senior Researchers.

Staff

Professor Stephen Lord

Professor Jacqueline Close

A/Prof Kim Delbaere

LATEST NEWS AND EVENTS

Exercise To Prevent Falls in Older Adults Workshop

Exercise To Prevent Falls in Older Adults

Date: Saturday 7th March 2020

Time: 9am – 5pm

Location: NeuRA – 139 Barker st, Randwick NSW 2031

 

Who is this course for? 

For fitness leaders working with older adults. This workshop will help you tailor exercise programs for falls prevention.

 

About this course:

CECs: 6

This continuing education program will equip Fitness Professionals with important information to guide the provision of appropriate falls prevention physical activity and exercise programs for older people. Topics to be covered include the social and economic issues of falls, risk factors for falls, physiological consequences of ageing, biomechanical and physiological principles of balance, and effective falls prevention strategies.

In undertaking the program, participants will be trained to develop safe and efficacious community exercise programs for older adults that are designed in a manner to maximise uptake and adherence of those populations who stand to most benefit from exercise. Through structured learning tasks across a number of different learning formats, participants will acquire the knowledge and ability to identify, develop, demonstrate and implement evidence-based exercise interventions designed to enhance physical and functional capacity and prevent falls and fall related injury.

 

This workshop includes: 

-An overview of the issue of falls in older people

-Understanding balance and ageing

-Evidence-based fall prevention interventions

-Developing fall prevention programs

 

Ticket cost:

$150 including tax, lunch and refreshments. Places are limited.

For further information contact Natassia Smith: n.smith@neura.edu.au

 

REGISTRATIONS CLOSED

 

 

 

Presenters:

 

Dr Daina Sturnieks (Neuroscience Research Australia, UNSW Medicine) –

Dr Sturnieks has a PhD in human biomechanics (UWA). She is Laboratory Manager for the Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre at NeuRA including a new state-of-the-art Balance and Gait Analysis Laboratory. Her research focuses on understanding biomechanical, sensorimotor and neurocognitive contributions to balance and falls in older people and clinical groups, and randomised controlled trials of novel interventions to prevent falls involving balance, stepping and cognitive training. Dr Sturnieks is active in translating research findings into community, aged care and hospital settings and is Executive Board Member of the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society.

 

 

 

Sally Castell (Movement Matters) – 

Sally Castell who is the owner and manager of Movement Matters has a physiotherapy, recreational therapy, health promotion and community education background and is a registered fitness leader. She has over 40 years of experience in the health / fitness industry having worked in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, sports clinics, community facilities and retirement centres. Sally is now focusing her expertise and energy to provide support to the older adult with a variety of appropriate exercise programs and resources to suit individual needs and abilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms Natassia Smith (Neuroscience Research Australia) –

Natassia Smith is a  Research Assistant at Neuroscience Research Australia, working in Dr Daina Sturneiks team at the Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre.

 

 

 

 

 


 

For more information contact Natassia Smith: n.smith@neura.edu.au

 

 

 

 

 

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