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Changing lives

Changing lives

20.07.2018

My health for life often hears great stories about participants who have made positive changes to their life after taking part in the program. This one comes courtesy of the Get Set for Surgery team on the Gold Coast and is a great example of the power of collaboration.

Albert, 65, a former industrial relations consultant from the Gold Coast, has a complex medical history, including a recent knee replacement. He relies on a wheelie walker and could only do short walks around his home before Get Set for Surgery put him in touch with My health for life.

My health for life motivated him to tackle his physical limitations and weight through regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.

Albert’s medical history includes prostate and kidney cancers, as well as spinal cord damage leaving him an incomplete paraplegic at age 47. Coupled with a diagnosis of spontaneous osteonecrosis on his very painful left knee more than two years ago, Albert’s weight had blown out and he wasn’t able to exercise.

He had been waiting for a knee replacement for several months when he received a call inviting him to join the recently launched Get Set for Surgery Program.

This free initiative - currently being piloted at Gold Coast Health by Orthopaedics, Vascular Surgery and Gynaecology - offers patients the opportunity to reduce their health risks and improve their overall health while waiting for elective surgery for knee or hip replacements, non-cardiac stents or hysterectomies.

Gold Coast Health consultants ask patients to complete a health questionnaire which the GP Liaison Unit triages and refers to the most appropriate community program.

Since the surgery preparation program started last September, 324 patients have been referred to community support programs to obtain advice on lifestyle changes to improve their health. My health for life is one of three community programs partnering with Get Set for Surgery.

 “It was the little lessons that stay with you and put you on track,” Albert said of his experience on My health for life.

“The message was that you need to make lifestyle changes through diet and exercise. One of the positive things was the encouragement I received from the phone coach during our regular sessions which motivated me to make changes.

“My coach and I discussed my goals, food portion control, nutrition, label reading and exercise, and what I had achieved, including weight loss in each fortnight.

“As a result, I now plan my meals for a few days in advance, do my own grocery shopping and have food in the fridge.”

Albert said he now tries to incorporate exercise into whatever he does, although his physical limitations prevented him from walking long distances or riding a bike. He does, however, regularly exercise in his backyard pool, rides his tricycle and lifts light weights.

If you have a My health for life story to share, we would love to hear from you.