My health for life being put into practice

The Queensland Government-funded lifestyle change initiative, My health for life, is currently being delivered internally at Brisbane North PHN as part of the organisation’s workplace wellness strategy.

My health for life is a health program aiming to help Queenslanders reduce their risk of developing chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Program participants at the PHN will receive six sessions of personalised health coaching and support over six months. During that time, they are encouraged to explore their health goals and work with a facilitator to tackle those goals step-by-step. 

The program consists of a health check, a one-on-one session with the facilitator and group sessions.

The health check identifies factors that a participant may be able to work on to decrease their risk of developing a chronic disease in the future. This check is a non-invasive and comprehensive way for participants to quickly gain insight into their health.

Brisbane North PHN decided to offer the program onsite to provide a convenient option for staff who wanted to connect more meaningfully with their health and wellbeing. Forty-four staff members completed the online health check and eight were found to be eligible for the program.

Brisbane MIND Coordinator, Stephen Giles, is one of the staff members taking part and said the program presented an opportunity to interrogate his long term health goals.

“I wanted to use this program to make some long term changes to reduce my blood pressure, to have a healthier lifestyle and to reduce my risk factor for having a chronic illness,” said Stephen.

Personalised health coaching is delivered by trained health professionals, including dietitians and exercise physiologists, who have a keen interest in preventive health.

The program is a practical extension of the advice given by GPs to their patients, allowing participants to better understand their lifestyle risks and action their health goals.

An important facet of the program are the group sessions, which allow participants to draw on each other for support.

“Community is key for this program. I really enjoyed the group aspect of it and enjoyed talking to others and getting support from like-minded people, who were also wanting to share and celebrate their successes,” said Stephen.

With the final My health for life PHN session scheduled for December, the program is still a few months away from wrapping up. Yet Stephen believes it’s not too early for it to be deemed successful—both personally and for the organisation.

“It has been successful for me. I have a lot healthier lifestyle and a reduction of my blood pressure and I think it worked because our organisation supported it and we had that common goal and common theme,” said Stephen.

“I will have to check in again soon and revise the resources and take the time to reassess and reflect, but I really do think it will have long term effect.”

The next My health for life session in Brisbane North will take place at True North Wellness in Albany Creek on 8 November 2018. GPs can refer their patients using the practice software MH4L referral template, or by calling 13 74 75. Visit www.myhealthforlife.com.au for further information.