The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’s (IUIH) ‘Work it Out’ program is this year’s recipient of the ‘National Lead Clinicians Group’ award for excellence in the innovative implementation of clinical practice. Developed in 2010 the ‘Work it Out’ program combines a comprehensive exercise and education program designed to improve the lives of patients living with or at risk of chronic disease.
The accolade was awarded in the category of ‘Cultural Competency in Indigenous Care in the Management of Chronic Disease’ to the team who dedicate themselves to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Work it Out Manager and accredited Exercise Physiologist Samara Dargan accepted the award on behalf of the team with great pleasure. In her acceptance speech she said “it’s an honor to work with and for an outstanding community driven program that has the support and commitment of the elders, aunties, uncles and other participants in the program”.
The program was established by the IUIH in response to the abnormally high rates of Indigenous people living with or at risk of chronic disease in South East Queensland. The program is delivered through 14 strategically placed Aboriginal community controlled health services situated in highly populated Indigenous communities.
When patients attend their local AMS for a health check or to treat a chronic disease they are given the option of being referred to the program to help manage their illness. As a result the program has seen 146 participants over 18 months between the ages of 18 and 83 take part in the program with outstanding results.
CEO of the IUIH Adrian Carson sees the program as an important component of the strategic approach to closing the gap on Indigenous life expectancy. “’Work it Out’ is one of our flagship programs delivered by the IUIH to each of our partner clinics across the south east corner. Since its inception the program has gone from strength to strength with a significant increase in client participation and improved health outcomes”.
The education program adopts an extensive, structured curriculum covering topics relating to nutrition, relaxation, exercise, managing fatigue, medication use, and tools to manage frustration, pain and isolation related to their chronic disease. The exercise program provides qualified exercise professionals available to participants who are given the necessary tools needed to enjoy better quality of life.
Evaluation of the program shows that all participants improved in their fitness test results over the programs duration and all clients reported significant changes in their social and emotional wellbeing.