Putting a Spring in the Step: Hui’s Work with the Chinese Community in Manchester
Hui Yu Xiong is a Physiotherapist with our Central Manchester Falls Service.
Upon joining the team in 2020, Hui noticed a lot of referrals from the Chinese community. Being multi-lingual and eager to help, Hui (with the support of the falls team) began making a concerted effort to engage more with our Chinese patients. Language barriers were addressed through preliminary falls awareness talks that led to positive interventions.
From an initial fall assessment, which ensures the home environment is suitable, to tailored exercise classes and signposting to other services, Hui and the Fall Team’s work has had a profound impact on the health and independence of many of our Chinese residents in Manchester.
In the past nine months, Hui and the Central Manchester Falls team delivered two Falls Awareness talks in the Chinese community. The residents engaged with advice on how to prevent falls, and were encouraged to be open and talk about their own experiences with falls, along with some of the other risk factors that may be contributing to their falls, such as vision, hearing, muscle weakness, abnormal gait patterns, polypharmacy, reduced balance, and environmental hazards. Approximately 75 residents of Ayton Court, Roby Court, Canal Court, Faulkner Court, Princess Court, and Morborne Close attended the events.
Following the talks, the falls team carried out multifactorial assessments with over 30 residents (with Physiotherapy, Nursing and Occupation Therapy), and completed many onward referrals. These residents then went on to complete a six-month OTAGO programme focusing on strength and balance exercises.
Preventing Falls and Regaining Mobility
Following an initial falls assessment — which ensures the home environment is suitable and provides equipment (such as rails, walking aids and fall monitors) where required — individuals from the Chinese community were invited to attend tailored exercise classes.
Hui’s classes, which run at several locations in the city, use the OTAGO Exercise Programme. OTAGO focuses on lower limb strength and balance, with the programme consisting of multiple strength and balancing exercises and a walking regime.
Studies have shown that OEP participants experience a 35 – 40% reduction in falls, and Hui’s classes have produced similar results. Class attendees have reported a drastic reduction in falls, with some not falling once since taking part in the programme!
Participation in the group programme provides a welcoming, social environment for class attendees to gradually build up their confidence with guided exercises and professional support. All residents also received regular reviews to monitor individual progress and ensure they did not feel isolated or unsupported.
The outcomes have been fantastic — from previously housebound residents now able to leave their homes and go shopping, to newfound independence from no longer struggling with daily routines and tasks.
Opening Doors and Promoting Independence
Hui and the Fall Team’s work with the Chinese community in Manchester has not only helped residents avoid falls and regain mobility, but it has also provided an avenue for people to engage with services.
As many of the residents in these courts come from Hong Kong and don’t read, write or speak English, literacy and language barriers (Cantonese/Mandarin) were preventing residents from seeking healthcare support.