Make time for a walking stick check-up!
As part of our ‘best care’ mission, clinicians are encouraged to be innovative to keep communities healthy, safe and well supported.
This month (Nov) sees the second annual local Walking Stick Check Week – the brainchild of physiotherapist Paul Mills, who is leading a drive to prevent avoidable falls caused by poorly maintained walking aids.
Paul said: “Just as it isn’t wise to drive a car with a worn tyre, you shouldn’t use a walking stick with a worn ferrule – that’s the rubber ‘foot’ that gives it grip and stability.
“A new ferrule only costs just a few pounds. Compare that to the personal cost for an injured individual, whose life is disrupted by injury and perhaps a hospital stay.
“Not only that, there is the cost to the NHS, which could run to many thousand pounds arising from an ambulance response, inpatient care, subsequent rehabilitation and, often, the affect that a period of incapacitation can have on a person’s mental wellbeing.
“As we go into the winter, when the NHS is always under the most severe pressure, I want to get the message out there – make sure your walking stick is in good condition, particularly the ferrule. It’s a little bit of time and money that could prove to be very well spent.”
Paul explained the concept fits with the Birmingham and Solihull integrated care system ethos of ‘early intervention’ – assessing and intervening early to reduce risks of harm or illness later on.
Reasons to give your walking stick an ‘MOT’ check:
- falls prevention
- better posture
- steadier support
- lower slip risk
- injury prevention
- saving cost of ambulance, hospital bed etc.