Strong and steady community exercise program – to enhance strength, endurance and balance to decrease falls in the community

Mrs Annette Mooney1, Mrs Carmel  Illsley1, Mrs Simone  Edwards1, Ms Rhonda Passlow1, Mrs Linda Clark1

1Calvary Health Care Kogarah, Oatley, Australia

Clients of CCH (Calvary Community Health) are over 65 years and generally house bound or have poor access to their community and healthcare. The Strong and Steady program provides an opportunity to exercise in both the gym and pool with emphasis on strengthening and balance with the goal of improving general activity, daily function, standing balance, and to reduce falls.

Hydrotherapy has been provided as part of the CCH service for more than 20 years.  In this time little had changed and clients attended however, there was no review of patient outcomes or effect of the service.  The CCH Physio team undertook a period of review and initially sought to improve the hydrotherapy program by improving the assessment process and including outcome measures and satisfaction survey.

After consideration of best practice and the need for a land based exercise program the team utilised a collaborative approach to develop and implement a new model of care.  Based on a day rehabilitation unit approach, an exercise program was developed for both the gymnasium and pool. It includes cardiovascular, strength, range of movement and balance components and is suitable for the age of our client group.

The clients are provided with transport to ensure they are able to access the service. Assistance with transferring, dressing, and showering is provided if needed.  The clients are provided with sandwiches and a drink after the session and as part of this have time to socialise.

As attendance is billed as a half day hospital admission the program is able to fund the increases in staffing that are required to run it.  This includes staffing for the physiotherapy aide and some administration.

Strong and Steady is now an integral part of the CHCK service and has resulted in an increase in referrals from Local Health District.


Team of Community Physiotherapists  with many years of combined experience who have a goal to maintain health and function in the elderly and also to prevent falls with the primary strategy of exercise . A collaborative team approach has seen the development of the Strong and Steady Exercise Program with positive and lasting functional outcomes.

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