ALL Annette Ransley (far right) wanted was for the pain to go away - but she got more than that!
The osteoarthiritis sufferer has now thrown away her walking stick and the prospect of hip surgery is increasingly remote thanks to a Hauora Tairawhiti programme at Turanga Health.
Annette is one of more than 140 people to have so far taken part in a Tūranga Health-hosted outreach programme to do just what Annette has achieved: manage their osteoarthritis to the point where hip or knee surgery may be avoided.
Funded by the Ministry of Health and run by Hauora Tairāwhiti, the two-year pilot programme – started in January, 2017 -- saw physiotherapist Samantha Henderson-Genefaas run classes at both Gisborne Hospital and Tūranga Health for clients referred by their GPs.
And this year it all continues with senior therapist Paula Bruce taking the reins while Sam is on maternity leave.
“The programme is aimed at people with mild/moderate hip or knee osteoarthritis with the intent of reducing pain and improving function and to prevent or delay the need for surgery,” Paula says.
“Though many clients are reluctant to go to the doctor, letting the GP know about pain or stiffness in your hip or knee means we can get started with treatment early.
The programme runs in six weeks blocks and consists of weekly exercise classes, sessions about how best to manage osteoarthritis, and an education component with input from a dietitian, pharmacist, and a diabetes and gout educator.
“Times are flexible with options during the day and after hours and Tūranga Health kaiāwhina can offer transport to and from classes,” saus Paula.
Once the six-week period is over clients are often referred to other Tūranga Health programmes or given green prescriptions so they can build on the good work they’ve done.
“The goal is to find the types of activity people enjoy so they can make long-term lifestyle changes.”
The pilot programme will continue until the end of 2018 with the aim of seeing 288 people.
For her part, Annette says that after putting up with a painful hip for years, the six-week programme gave her an exercise regime tailored just for her . . . and it's working.
“Six weeks is a big commitment but I managed to stick to it because I thought it was important,” she says. “Before, if my hip gave out I would fall but now I have the strength in my legs to avoid that. The help we have had is awesome and I’m so grateful for that.”
And her classmate and line-dancing buddy, Dawn Wihongi, has made similar progress, ditching the walking frame she used when an osteoarthritic hip stole her mobility.
Dawn loves being in an environment with so much support and encouragement and is stoked to have delayed a planned hip operation.
“My family thinks I am doing wonders so I'm really proud of myself,” she says.
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