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Guidance urges nurses to organise walks

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Community nurses working should offer thrice-weekly walks to older people to improve their mental health and wellbeing, according to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

Nurses and GPs should offer low to moderate intensity walks along local routes to older patients, new NICE public health guidance says.

There should be at least three of these per week and they should last one hour, including warm-up exercises and at least 30 to 40 minutes walking time.

Health professionals should ensure that community volunteers who lead the walks are trained in giving first aid and in setting suitable routes.

Professionals in the residential care sector should also ensure that staff and volunteers who work with older people have suitable training in occupational therapy and communication skills, says NICE.

* Occupational therapy interventions and physical activity interventions to promote the mental wellbeing of older people in primary care and residential care (NICE public health guidance, 2009).

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