Activity improves health, even in hospital
We all know that exercise and activity are important for good health and healing. That’s why a new program is being used to help bring the benefits of working-out to Island residents during their stay in hospital.
As part of a senior-friendly hospital approach being piloted on Unit 3 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), patients are offered a chance to take part in a daily seated exercise routine designed to gently move every part of their bodies.
The tailored exercises help older adults to maintain or even improve their overall health and vitality while in hospital, Lynn Drake, nurse manager said.
“The patients on this unit have an acute medical condition, often in addition to one or more other chronic conditions that require management. The length of time that people stay in hospital varies as some may need another level of care (i.e. long term care, community care, restorative care) while others are working to recover enough to be able to return to their home,” she said. “We don’t want to see anyone’s overall health deteriorating while they are in hospital because that they may be less mobile and less active.”
James Aylward, Minister of Health and Wellness, said promoting wellness is a good way to help Islanders live happier, healthier lives – even in cases where they face medical challenges.
“These sessions allow our patients to be active and to exercise according to their abilities. Anyone can benefit from activity that suits their needs and capabilities,” the minister said.
Brandon Rose, physiotherapy assistant at the QEH, has been leading the daily exercise on Unit 3 since the program began last fall.
“I try to get everyone to take part in a seated exercise so it’s safe, and to have them move their bodies as far as they are capable,” Rose says. “If someone has a shoulder problem, I know that they won’t be lifting their arms over their head, but there are other actions that they can do.”
Rose said his job is to help patients with physical and occupational therapy in most of the hospital’s units, but the patients of Unit 3 are a special project.
“Sometimes I have 10 people; sometimes there are just two,” he said. “I encourage them all to take part and to make the most of the abilities they have.”
Drake said she and the team on Unit 3 encourage patients to be as independent as possible, to move as much as their condition permits and to dress in their ordinary clothes while they are staying on the Unit.
“Our patients can come in with challenging conditions and differing physical abilities. If we encourage activity, we can help improve their well-being and prevent further health decline. That’s what we want to do for the patients we serve.”