The Heart Health program has been based at Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service for over nine years and runs every Thursday from 9.00am to 1.00pm. It is available to all Aboriginal and people with/at risk of chronic diseases and their family. Referrals are received from the clients themselves, hospitals or is GP-based.
Heart Health participants come together, sharing and supporting one another in their health, while the program offers a brief physical assessment, eg blood pressure and blood sugar checks (BSL) and yarning over a cup of tea or coffee. Group diabetic education precedes a short walk. There is also supervised group exercise using weights and static bikes, finishing with a discussion about a chronic disease issue over a healthy lunch.
Weekly exercise and education sessions are delivered by Aboriginal staff alongside non-Aboriginal health professionals (Cardiac Nurse, Exercise Physiologist, Dietitian) and invited speakers. This program is designed to educate and empower participants to self-manage their chronic disease and reduce their future risks.
Educational topics discussed during each heart health session include:
- Heart health
- Heart medications
- Healthy tucker and healthy weight
- Oral health
- What is blood pressure
- Cholesterol control
- Quitting smoking
- Managing stress and emotions
- The benefits of physical activity
Our program centres on meeting the needs of the community with extensive ongoing community input regarding program design. The program is open and flexible, which allows clients to attend when and for how long they want to with the options of attending every week. Client ownership of the program is evident from the high numbers (27-49) of clients attending each week averaging 37.59 participants each week during the year.