Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Health Promotion in Action

I've had an optimistic couple of days on the Health Promotion front. It's fun. This might have something to do with the fact that I finished before 1pm on each, but let's not be cynical.

On Tuesday I spent the morning with the team's Occupational Therapist (OT). Now, from the outset I'm pretty biased. I bloody love Occupational Therapy. I love the primary idea. It can be really basic, or really clever, and when it is facilitated well it can really improve people's lives. The OT I was with is very talented and experienced and we had a good chat about the ins and outs of OT within cardiology. We then went out - in the bloody snow, and I was already soaked through - to help a patient fit a bath seat. One of these zany electric things with suckers and whirring gears. That went smoothly, we had a chat and she expressed gratitude that we'd been able to help. A good visit, all in all.

Today I went to a real community setting, a church hall no less! Exercise classes for people post-MI go on there, at personal expense to the attendees. I'll vent on that later. The leader for the group was one of the most cheery, positive people I've ever met, which obviously helps things. Both groups knew each other, and on further questioning some of them had been attending for 12 years or more! No wonder, then. The exercise was pretty light, but given some of them were in their 80s that's no surprise. It is, rather cleverly, arranged into three levels, which makes it plenty accessible. Level One is quite sated, whilst Level Three generally uses whole body moves. It was an excellent learning opportunity, really. I got to speak to the leader about the classes and the reasons attendees value them, and then I got to check this out by speaking to the people themselves. They were all lovely, and told me the classes were both enjoyable and useful.

The major bee in my bonnet is the fact that they have to pay. These classes are bi-weekly, for an hour and a half each. One member of staff is required. The classes are in a church hall. I'm not seeing how they could be massively expensive. The classes are uber-useful. Not only do they allow people to exercise, warding off further MIs and other linked problems, but they encourage people to exercise outside of class. More importantly, the classes double up as a support group. People with similar problems getting together. Level Ones can find similar people to do the circuit with. If Level One A is a bit further down the road to recovery than Level One B they can talk about it. They get bloody enthusiastic about finding out about their conditions, which is one of the most important parts of Health Promotion!

And yet the PCT refuses to fund it. Good job, you cretinous fuckwits.

No comments: