UCOL health and rehab clinic a New Zealand first

Press Release – UCOL

UCOL is working with Manawatu health providers to establish a health and rehabilitation clinic with a difference. The clinic will help people to recover through exercise programmes and will also have a strong education and research component: It will …UCOL health and rehab clinic a New Zealand first

UCOL is working with Manawatu health providers to establish a health and rehabilitation clinic with a difference.

The clinic will help people to recover through exercise programmes and will also have a strong education and research component: It will support a new UCOL Postgraduate Diploma qualification in Clinical Exercise Physiology. The initiative is part of UCOL’s strategy to meet future health workforce needs.

The clinic will help people who have been discharged from hospital and referred by their specialists. They will receive exercise therapy as a treatment to help restore their health and wellbeing following events like heart attacks, respiratory conditions, injuries and some diabetic conditions.

UCOL’s Dean of Health Sciences, Penny O’Leary, says the clinic is the first of its kind in New Zealand, although there are similar, successful examples in Australia and South Africa. “What makes this unique is the innovative and collaborative approach to primary health care that will bring health and wellness gains for the Palmerston North and Manawatu health sector,” she says.

“This approach strongly links education to health service delivery, with a focus on developing graduates with expertise and experience working with clients with medical conditions and injuries. These graduates can go on to play an important role in the health of New Zealanders.”

The new clinic will open in Grey Street, adjacent to the UCOL campus, next month.

The Academic Leader of UCOL’s Exercise and Sport Science programmes, Dean Rankin, says the clinic has been developed with support from MidCentral Health District Health Board, the Central Primary Health Organisation, and Health Workforce New Zealand. It will operate in partnership with The Back Institute Health who provide multidisciplinary health services, including back pain management, physiotherapy and vocational rehabilitation. TBI Health will share the Grey Street premises.

“Our aim is to help meet community health needs and health priorities through an integrated educative and clinical service approach. The clinic will both support and extend current health services for chronic disease, in terms of prevention, management or rehabilitation,” Dean says.

For example, he says a heart patient may be referred to the clinic by a doctor, specialist or MidCentral Health and will be helped with a programme of exercise, lifestyle and behaviour modification to minimise further heart attack risk and avoid further hospitalisation.

“Throughout this process, the clinic will work closely with other health and allied health professionals to ensure continuity of care for each client and monitoring of their progress. The support that we have received from all of the health organisations we have approached (including MidCentral DHB and Central PHO) has been excellent. Their willingness to work collaboratively with us has enabled this clinic and course to be established”.

As well as helping people with cardiovascular disease, the clinic will also initially be offering programmes to help sufferers of diabetes, respiratory disorders, back and neck pain and musculoskeletal conditions. The aim is to extend this to also provide programmes for suffers of other medical conditions such as osteoporosis, depression, obesity, cancer, stroke, and arthritis, while having a strong focus on each individual’s general health and wellbeing.

“The exercise based programmes offered at the clinic will be tailored to the individual and their health status. All programmes will include exercise testing to ensure appropriate exercise prescription and tracking of progress, while clients will also be closely monitored before, during and after each session”.

Dean says clients will benefit from high technology equipment available for use at the clinic. “This includes the ability to record a client’s progress and improvement via USBs which can be inserted into the exercise equipment. This will also give us valuable data for the research programme we intend to deliver from the activities of clinic, with the goal of using this information to improve future client outcomes.”

The new clinic will support a new UCOL Postgraduate Diploma qualification in Clinical Exercise Physiology. Students (who will all have relevant degree qualifications) will be involved in the running of the clinic, supervised by post-graduate qualified clinic staff. “News of the clinic and new qualification has already spread within the health sector and education sectors and we already have a good level of enrolments already for the new qualification which starts on 27 February,” Dean says.

He says the clinical relationships UCOL has developed and the specialised exercise facility will provide an excellent learning experience for the Postgraduate students, with the programme delivered within the clinic.

ENDS

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