IT'S a sunny autumn morning and at Tūranga Health's city-centre gym questions about medication are coming thick and fast.
“What do I do if I have side effects?” How do I manage my medication when I go overseas?” Why am I getting nose bleeds?”
Nurse Kimi Biddle is up front fielding the questions triggered by her presentation, but this – along with talks on issues like nutrition – is just the first part of the Eke Tū sessions run by Tūranga Health.
Kaiāwhina Bernie Semau has a part to play, too . . . talking about diet and leading whānau through specially-tailored exercise programmes to help those with chronic conditions manage their health.
Participants are referred by their GPs and to make sure everyone can get along there’s a choice of location, timing, and settings in Gisborne and Te Karaka.
And while up to 30 people are gathered in the gym for this particular session, not all of them have health issues like diabetes or heart disease: some are whānau there in support. Tūranga Health chief executive Reweti Ropiha says that's as it should be.
“There needs to be a certain amount of compliance around things like diet and medication, how involved the whānau is, it’s the litmus test for us,” he says.
“Traditionally, the process of supporting those with chronic conditions has only involved the individual but with Eke Tū we say ‘why not widen that approach to make sure the whānau are at the centre of it’.”
Mr Rophia likens the programme to Green Prescription “but on steroids”.
“We had to come up with a really rigorous programme that provides tools for individuals and whānau to achieve better health outcomes,” he says.
“And that's something that is usually easy to measure. For example, if someone has been averaging 10 nights in hospital a month and we can help them get that down to six, then that's a big win.”
For Bernie, the programme's strength is how it gives people the tools to manage their own health.
“Eke Tū gives patients an opportunity to increase fitness, lose weight and improve their overall health,” he says.
“By giving our patients the knowledge, skills and motivation to make good decisions in daily life we’re empowering them to take a leading role in their own care.”
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