Award-winning activity program delivers results

A new exercise program run by aged care provider Whiddon recorded a 50 per cent drop in pain symptoms for participating residents.

An evidence-based exercise program run by aged care provider Whiddon recorded a 50 per cent reduction in pain symptoms for participating residents, with some experiencing no symptoms at all.

The Exercise 4 Life pain-management program has been piloted across three of Whiddon’s aged care homes – Casino and Maclean in New South Wales, and Beaudesert in Queensland.

A total of nearly 8,000 exercises were completed by 28 participants during the study period including knee flexors, hip abductions, seated knee extensors, and sit-to-stand movements.

As well as successfully managing residents’ pain, the program corroborated the link between activity and quality of life, with an increased sense of happiness and wellbeing experienced by all participants. Mood was also measured and found to increase by 20 per cent during the program’s trial.

Dr Jennie Hewitt

The Exercise 4 Life program was co-designed by Whiddon’s innovation and strategy team, with researcher and physiotherapist Dr Jennie Hewitt. “The team at Whiddon has demonstrated industry leadership by deciding to take an evidence-based approach to pain management and reablement,” said Dr Hewitt.

Developing, testing and scaling new ways of delivering pain management and reablement programs places the New South Wales and Queensland aged care provider “at the forefront of best practice physiotherapy care,” said Dr Hewitt – who was an expert witness on allied health service provision for the aged care royal commission.

Residents at Whiddon’s Easton Park facility in NSW taking part in the Exercise 4 Life program

Exercise 4 Life was commissioned by Whiddon in response to the federal government’s new funding model – the Australian National Aged Care Classification, which enables providers to offer evidence-based, therapeutic programs as part of an individual’s care plan.

“Timing of the study is especially critical as it comes at a point where allied health support is being re-evaluated as a result of the new funding model,” said Dr Hewitt.

Karn Nelson

Whiddon’s head of strategy and innovation Karn Nelson said AN-ACC has presented the provider with an opportunity to attract allied health professionals to the organisation.

“The previous ACFI funding model meant we were restricted to treating pain with treatments that were supportive, but not evidence-based as effective treatments. Now we can offer a very effective program for our clients and residents and allow allied health specialists to use their skills to improve quality of life.”

Exercise 4 Life has already received recognition from the sector picking up an innovAGEING award last month.

Whiddon intends to roll out the program across all of its 23 sites by Christmas this year.

Main image: Dr Jennie Hewitt taking residents through the new Exercise 4 Life program at Whiddon’s Easton Park site in Glenfield NSW last week

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Tags: Dr Jenni Hewitt, Exercise 4 Life, Karn Nelson, pain management, whiddon,

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