Volunteer Coaches Needed for Popular “Matter of Balance” Falls Prevention Program Offered through Memorial Hospital and Local Community Health Council

April 03, 2018

Memorial Hospital is proud to announce the continued success of their A Matter of Balance program, an initiative spearheaded by their Population Health team. Population health looks beyond the health of the individual and focuses on the health of the entire community. Sue Ruka the Director of Population Health, says the goal is to work together as a community to create healthier places to live, work and play.

Matter of Balance, one of the first initiatives Memorial implemented in 2015, was designed to help people manage concerns about falls. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. In New Hampshire, every 15 seconds an adult aged 65 or older are treated are treated in the ED for fall related injury. The goal for this program is to develop a community wide initiative to identify risk, provide options for strengthening interventions, sustain positive behavior changes and engage patients in their own health.

Studies indicate that a great number of individuals in our community experience fear of falling, and that many respond to this concern by curtailing activity. Being inactive results in loss of muscle strength and balance. It can also compromise social interaction and increase the risk for isolation, depression and anxiety. Fear of falling can actually contribute to falling.

“A Matter of Balance” is a proven awards winning program designed to help people manage concerns about falls and increase physical activity and emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls.

The program utilizes positive coping methods to reduce fear of falling using group discussions, problem-solving strategies, videos to help participants to learn how to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home, exercise regularly to increase strength and balance remaining active and independent.

Classes are conducted by volunteer coaches who help participants become more confident about managing falls by believing that they can increase their strength, find ways to reduce falls, increase exercise and protect themselves if they do fall.

Members of the Community Health Council including Memorial Hospital, Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice of Carroll County, Mineral Springs are partnering with The Gibson Center for Senior Service, the NH Foundation for Healthy Communities and MaineHealth to work together to offer and implement the Matter of Balance program. This program has been tested (evidence based) with high success rate.

Heather Phillips, Program Coordinator of Population Health stated, “We have found incredible success with A Matter of Balance not only with participants but also within the community. We offer the program in places where people gather, such as churches, libraries, senior center and other recreational places in addition to the hospital. The program is so popular, we are even looking for more people willing to serve as coaches to offer the program. In fact the demand is so great we will need to add more classes too.”

Ruka stated, “We are looking for volunteers that would like to help provide this program in our community. If you have good communication and interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, dependability, willingness to lead small groups of adults and lead low to moderate level exercise you can become ‘A Matter of Balance’ coach. Chances are you know someone who has fallen or who is afraid of falling. Please join our team to help us build a strong, confident and happier community.”

There will be an information session to learn more about becoming A Matter of Balance” Coach on May 3, 2018 from 1pm – 3pm at the Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice, 1529 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH 03860

Those who want to attend or want more information, please contact Heather Phillips at 603-356-5461 (ext. 2187) or email hphillips@memorialhospitalnh.org