A new program launched by Australian Catholic University (ACU) and Metro North Hospital and Health Service is helping Australian seniors with lung disease get back to doing what they love sooner.
The eight-week Pulmonary Rehab exercise program is being run as a pilot program out of Australian Catholic University’s Allied Health Clinic at Banyo, where student physiotherapists take the lead and are supported by senior clinicians.
The pilot has eight patients involved and is already proving mutually beneficial for patients and students alike, with waitlists reduced for patients while students are able to put their theory into practice.
Participant George Brett is eager to return to the bowling green just weeks after commencing the program under the new partnership.
“After just three sessions I am ready to start playing lawn bowls again and am no longer feeling breathless,” Mr Brett said.
“I’ve really noticed a difference – I’m walking double the distance I was three weeks ago.”
ACU National Head of School of Allied Health Professor Suzanne Kuys said students worked directly with patients to increase physical function, manage their condition, and provide knowledge on breathing, medications and energy conservation.
“Research shows that pulmonary rehabilitation programs such as these improve quality of life and reduce hospital admissions,” Professor Kuys said.
“Over the course of eight weeks, students are able to build a rapport with patients and get them to a place where they have the knowledge and skills to continue their exercises at home.”
Metro North Hospital and Health Service Physiotherapist Rebecca Chambers said as demand increased for pulmonary rehab programs, the innovative student-led model allowed for fast-tracked care.
“These programs are hugely popular across our facilities including The Prince Charles Hospital, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and our community health facilities, however, now we can increase our reach through the ACU partnership to ensure more patients can benefit closer to their home,” Ms Chambers said.
“The ACU students get to build relationships directly with their patients and are still supported by senior clinicians in the process – the program is delivering benefits for everyone.”
ACU’s Allied Health Clinic has facilitated more than 10,000 patient treatments over seven years across its physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology, speech pathology and social work clinics and programs.