Bridging the gap from hospital to community services

Ms Rosemary Morgan1, Mr Andrew Smith1, Mrs Renee Jervies1

1Southwest Healthcare, Warrnambool, Australia

Aim: To provide, in conjuction with community programs, pathways for affordable options to keep clients exercising after they are discharged from hospital based exercise programs, promoting lifestyle change and self-management and reducing hospital admissions in high admission areas, such as falls and chronic conditions.

Methods: Many different level exercise classes are currently available through Southwest Healthcare (SWH), but investigation found limited appropriate classes existing in the community, making it difficult to transition clients to self management, especially in the older population. Cost was also a significant issue for clients.

Regular liaison with community providers, and extensive education to clients about community options occurred, and conversations about self management from admission to program at SWH.

Recording of outcome measures during class, and phone call follow up with clients post discharge tracked progress.

Results: Outcome meaures demonstrate consistent fitness improvements during classes at SWH. Discussions with the council owned and operated local gym and other providers resulted in the introduction of general exercise and balance specific classes at affordable costs.

Follow up calls made to clients were encouraging with 69% of clients participating in community exercise classes after discharge from SWH classes and 73% reporting they were exercising for at least 30 minutes three times per week.

Significance of findings to Allied Health: Establishing key partnerships with community organisations provides access to adequate transition pathways for self management and ongoing behaviour change in the hospital-exercising population.