Airedale Hospital trials red zimmer frames
Photo shows L to R: Laura Carty, Physiotherapist, Marjorie Harker from Keighley who has a visual impairment using the frame and Stacey Narey, Senior physiotherapist and Team Leader
Therapists at Airedale Hospital are running a trial to see whether offering bright red walking frames to people with visual impairments encourages them to use the walking aids safely and so be more active.
The initiative was started at the Trust by Physiotherapist, Stacey Narey after seeing an article in a national therapy magazine on how coloured frames had been used to help patients with visual impairments and also those with dementia.
Stacey and her team were given funding from a patient legacy to buy 5 frames so they could begin to use them with patients in hospital to see if they were beneficial and improved their health. Evidence shows that bright colours can highlight important objects, making them easier for people with visual impairments to find and use.
Marjorie Harker from Keighley has a visual impairment and is registered partially sighted and so the red frame will allow her to see the frame much more easily and help her stay mobile.
Visual perceptions also often change in patients with dementia and can lead to issues of mobility including a fear of falling, misjudging of distances and for example someone with dementia might try to step over a carpet or a black lino strip thinking it is a step, a hole or a patch of water, so it’s hoped the frames will also help these patients.
Stacey Narey, Physiotherapist at Airedale NHS Foundation trust says:
“We really hope that our trial shows how useful these frames are for patients with visual difficulties. With a silver frame it blends in to the background because everything in the hospital is in beige, grey and other pale colours, and everything blends in. Whereas red is a really bright striking colour that people can see – it makes it a real obvious piece of equipment and patients are more likely to stand up and use the zimmer rather than either walking without it or using it inappropriately.”
If the trial is successful then the trust will purchase more frames which patients will be able to take home with them.