Exercise as Medicine

The Exercise as Medicine program aims to:
  • Improve physical function for older patients with selected chronic conditions.
  • Test a model for resourcing general practices to implement effective strategies to assist patients overcome barriers to participating in exercise intervention.
  • Reduce the evidence-implementation gap by normalising the use of exercise as an evidence-based intervention in primary care clinical practice.

Exercise as Medicine

The Exercise as Medicine program aims to:

  • Improve physical function for older patients with selected chronic conditions.
  • Test a model for resourcing general practices to implement effective strategies to assist patients overcome barriers to participating in exercise intervention.
  • Reduce the evidence-implementation gap by normalising the use of exercise as an evidence-based intervention in primary care clinical practice.

After an open tender process the following General Practices and Aboriginal Health Service have been chosen to implement evidence-based exercise interventions as part of comprehensive chronic disease management.

  • Mullumbimby Medical Centre
  • Lake Cathie Medical Centre

General Practices are well placed to implement evidence based exercise interventions as part of comprehensive chronic disease management activity.

There is a growing body of evidence that highlights the positive effects of prescribing exercise as medicine. Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis, cognitive decline, [hypertension and obesity], and even depression, at minimal cost and with virtually no side effects.

The aging population and the rising rates of overweight and obesity are driving increasing rates of many long term conditions. Promotion of self-management, support with health coaching, group sessions and non-face to face support are all potentially effective and cost efficient methods to deliver exercise as evidence based therapy for many long term conditions.

Healthy North Coast will provide funding to general practices who develop solutions to address local barriers to participating in activities that will improve physical function for older adults with COPD, CCF and/or Osteoarthritis.

The aims of the contract are twofold:

  • Improve physical function for older patients with selected chronic conditions
  • Test a model for resourcing general practices to implement effective strategies to assist patients overcome barriers to participating in exercise interventions

Practices will be contracted to implement Exercise as Medicine interventions. A wide variety of evidence based exercise interventions have been demonstrated to benefit patients in the eligible cohort. Practices are encouraged to set goals with patients and facilitate interventions that will support patients to achieve goals and maximise physical ability.

Eligibility and physical ability improvement will be measured using the Short Physical Performance Battery Test (SPPB) to measure and reward the outcome of improvement in physical ability. The test is a simple, validated test to measure lower extremity function using tasks that mimic daily activity3Click here to read article.

Patients are eligible to participate if they are:

  • Aged over 50 years
  • Have one of three eligible conditions:
    • Painful Osteoarthritis of hip or knee
    • Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease (on stable medications)
    • Chronic Heart Failure (on stable medications)
    • have a baseline SPPB score of 0-9

Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) is an objective assessment tool for evaluating lower extremity functioning in older persons. Click here to read an article.

  • Developed by the National Institute on Aging
  • Has a strong evidence base to support its validity as a valuable objective measure
  • Important to stick to the protocol to have standardised measures
  • Powerful predictor of many outcomes – mortality, hospitalization, nursing home admissions, risk of disability into the future – considerations for intervention to prevent regression of physical ability
  • Broken into three different parts for the testing
    • Balance
    • Walking Speed
    • Chair Stand

Click here to download some tips and tricks.

Agency: Mullumbimby Medical Centre, Lake Cathie Medical Centre

Regions:

Mullumbimby, Lake Cathie

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