The benefits of a Community Health exercise program during COVID-19.

Jordan McMillan1, Emma Boyes1
Latrobe Community Health Service1

ABSTRACT

Background: With the ageing population and the rise in preventable diseases and conditions in Australia, an added demand is being placed on allied health services. COVID-19 forced the health and fitness industry into chaos, with restrictions and closures, older people in the Gippsland community faced social isolation and functional decline. COVID-19 created an opportunity for the Exercise team to run more 1:1 exercise sessions while exercise groups were suspended for 12 months.

Aim: The purpose of the study was to compare outcome measures of exercise group clients who completed 1:1 exercise sessions during COVID-19 and those who completed a home exercise program (HEP) only.

Method: 85 exercise group clients were included in the data with 53 excluded due to not returning to exercise groups post COVID-19. The team collected physical outcome measure data on clients who completed 1:1 exercise sessions (22 clients)   and compared them to data collected with the clients who had only completed home exercise programs (63 clients) throughout the 12month COVID-19 exercise group suspension.

Results: The data demonstrated desirable results for the clients who attended the 1:1 exercise sessions. Of the outcome measures incorporated within the exercise groups, two physical outcomes measures (30 second sit-to-stand and the 3 minute step test) highlight improvements between the two client groups. In the sit-to-stand test there was a 13% average increase in the number of sit-to-stands the 1:1 clients achieved in 30 seconds, compared to a 7% average decrease in the HEP group. Whilst, in the 3 minute step test, there was a 36% average increase in the amount of steps the 1:1 clients achieved, compared to a 6% average decrease in those doing  home exercises.

Conclusion: The outcome measures recorded pre and post COVID-19 identified the benefits of 1:1 exercise sessions on-site, provided by the Exercise Physiologist or Allied Health Assistants, over home exercise programs alone.


BIOGRAPHY 

Jordan McMillan

Exercise Physiologist

Jordan is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who specialises in musculoskeletal injury rehabilitation and Parkinson’s disease exercises. He has brought his passion for exercise and knowledge to shape the exercise program.

Emma Boyes

Allied Health Assistant

Emma has years of experience working in the fitness industry, perfecting her craft and knowledge. Emma has been vital to the successful delivery of the exercise program at LCHS.

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