The NHS Victoria Centre in Swindon

The Victoria Centre, a provision for older people’s mental health, installed BalanceMaster’s new lower limb exerciser in May 2008, and the centre’s team is already seeing positive results.

“The patients using the machine are generally in their seventies and eighties, and are mostly suffering from depression or mild cognitive impairment,” explains Clare Leonard, Head of Profession for Physiotherapy for The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. “They tend to have general balance problems, or reduced physical activity.”

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is one of the largest mental health trusts in the country, operating across Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. The NHS Victoria Centre in Swindon is run under the auspices of the Trust.

With risk factors for falls in the elderly including gait and balance challenges, as well as cognitive impairment and even a lack of confidence, Clare’s work includes promoting patients’ functional mobility and balance. Hence, the Victoria Centre recently purchased a Mark II BalanceMaster™ model. The newly updated machine provides rhythmical, programmed exercises which aim to improve joint mobility and dynamic muscle stability for the lower limbs and pelvic regions. The machine also has greater adjustment in the tilting footplate.

“We have only been using the new BalanceMaster™ for two months, but so far, I can report the patients are getting on well with the machine and are reporting benefits; with continued use, we hope to have some hard facts relating to the machine’s success,” Clare concludes.

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