Integrated Rehabilitation and Enablement Program (IREAP) coordinator
Uniting War Memorial Hospital
“We run two different IREAP streams (Integrated Rehabilitation and Enablement Program) at the Uniting War Memorial Hospital. One for people with neurodegenerative diseases, things like Parkinson’s disease, and the other for people who are becoming increasingly frail in the community. Proactively we prevent deterioration or hospitalisation through rehab. Within the 8 week program, patients come in and see a variety of clinicians to better manage their health independently.
With a background in physiotherapy, I really like informing people about how the body works and the importance of exercise. A lot of older people may not see exercise as part of health. It might have been something they enjoyed, but now we’re realising that exercise is medicine. Along with their daily medications, exercise is a hugely important element to managing a healthy life.
I’m interested in challenging patients physically and cognitively. We’re often asking maths sums, getting them to do tongue twisters or getting them to name months of the year backwards. I had a high-school work-experience student and I asked her to do some maths questions with a patient. Normally I ask ‘5 + 6’ or ‘5 x 9’, but when I came over, she was asking questions like ‘what’s the square root of 9 + the square root of 16 x 4’. Now that’s challenging.”