Perthshire community hospital supports patient rehabilitation with Strength and Balance offering

With the unveiling of specialist posts on their grounds, Blairgowire Community Hospital has become the first hospital setting in Scotland to display our Strength and Balance panels.

L-R: Dr Graeme McNeill, Laura Douglas, Evelyn Devine, Kevin Lafferty and Kayleigh Lytham.

Our newly installed Strength and Balance panels will help support in-patient mobility, strength and co-ordination as part of rehabilitation and recovery. Alongside the posts, a new anti-slip path has also been created, offering full access for patients to explore the grounds and to access and complete the strength and balance circuit.

After months of hard work, the installation was completed with funding and support thanks to generous donations from the Friends of Blairgowrie Community Hospital. The new panels are in addition to indoor strength and balance wall vinyls that are already in place throughout the ward within Blairgowrie Community Hospital.

The new installation features wooden posts, support handles and panels with dementia-friendly instructions on how to perform simple movements which increase strength, improve balance and boost confidence.

To celebrate the unveiling of the new outdoor installation on 21st November, Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) Head of Health, Evelyn Devine and representatives from Friends of Blairgowrie Community Hospital were joined by staff and patients from the hospital alongside our Chief Executive Officer Kevin Lafferty, and Kayleigh Lytham, Development Officer in our Walking for Health Team.

To encourage local communities to get physically active, we support the delivery of over 850 regular Health Walks across Scotland, 155 of which are dementia friendly. These Health Walks, led by trained volunteer Walk Leaders, last 30-60 minutes, are short, low-level and social. Our Strength and Balance programme supports Health Walk Leaders and health and social care professionals to learn simple strength exercises alongside advice on walking to help adults stay active and independent.

A Strength and Balance post in the grounds of Blairgowrie Community Hospital.

Andrew, a patient who recently had the opportunity to try out the new circuit, welcomed the new facilities. He said,

It was a pleasant surprise to be able to do circuits on the new circular pathway and use it as the means of a workout.

I like to be outdoors doing my own thing independently to strengthen my arms and remaining leg. I have been learning the right technique to use my wheelchair, improve my stamina and can now confidently use ramps to gain access to hospital and other buildings. I am facing the challenges I have to increase my abilities, it’ll take time but I will overcome them.

North Perth Community Physiotherapy Team Lead, Laura Bell said the strength and balance panels will provide real benefits to patients being treated in the 17-bedded unit. She said,

The whole team is pleased with our new path and outdoor movement stations. We are extremely grateful for the kind donations from the Friends of Blairgowrie Community Hospital and Paths for All to support this project.

Research has shown that exercising is one of the best ways of preventing falls for elderly people. This new circuit will help to improve the strength, balance, confidence and stamina of our patients as part of their rehabilitation journey.

Head of Health Evelyn Devine said,

The installation of these new panels is a very welcome addition to the grounds of Blairgowrie Community Hospital and will support the ongoing development of strength and balance exercise resources that are available for patients.

Carrying out strength and balance exercises regularly can lead to significant benefits for patients, and can also contribute towards safer mobility and reduce the risk of falls.

Dr Graeme McNeill from the Friends of Blairgowrie Community Hospital, said,

The Friends of Blairgowrie Community Hospital is a local charity which supports patients and staff in the hospital. We are delighted to help fund the creation of the new path and strength and balance panels around the hospital and we are sure it will improve the physical and mental well being of patients.

Kayleigh Lytham, Dementia Friendly Walking Development Officer for Paths for All said,

We are delighted to have supported Blairgowrie Community Hospital with this initiative and give patients increased opportunity to access the outdoors and improve their strength and balance as part of their rehabilitation.

Patients can walk amongst nature and aid their recovery whilst gaining the associated physical and mental wellbeing benefits. We hope this will help to raise the profile of how important walking with regular strength and balance is, particularly amongst people who are at high risk of falling or a repeat fall.

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