A NSW-first pilot of the Get Healthy personalised coaching service for people with cancer
Cancer patients in Sydney Local Health District will have access to a NSW-first pilot of the Get Healthy personalised coaching service.
The Get Healthy program is a NSW Health service to help provide support and motivation to achieve healthy lifestyle goals. The free, confidential telephone based coaching service model is now offering a specialised program focused on keeping cancer patients active and able to exercise.
Jane Turner, senior exercise physiologist at Concord Hospital’s Sydney Cancer Survivorship Centre has supported the development of the pilot program.
“There are a number of research-supported benefits of exercise for people with cancer. However, many currently available programs are targeted at the post-treatment phase,” she said.
“The Get Healthy cancer model will provide cancer patients with telephone coaching sessions with an allied health professional over a six month period.
“The health coaches are qualified exercise physiologists and dieticians and I have been fortunate working alongside Cancer Council NSW to provide the coaches additional training about the specific needs of cancer patients.”
In 2018, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia released a position statement stating all patients diagnosed with cancer should be able to have access to exercise programs through cancer treatment and beyond.
“We know exercise helps to reduce a number of treatment related side-effects, in particular fatigue. There is also early evidence that exercise may help reduce the risk of certain cancers from coming back.”
Until now, there has not been a broadly accessible and free exercise support service for people with cancer in NSW.
“Allowing people to receive support throughout their cancer treatment, which for some can be a long period of time, is a real positive and a step forward in making exercise standard care for all diagnosed with cancer.”
“Some people may receive a cancer diagnosis and already be a highly active person and this program can help enable those people to navigate ways to maintain that activity throughout their treatment.
“Others can benefit from finding ways to exercise in order to maintain functional independence, support mental health and wellbeing, improve fitness and muscle strength to do normal day-to-day tasks and to help prevent other health conditions.”
The Get Healthy coaches will maintain links with the patient’s cancer care team in a shared-care model.
“The benefits of this program are significant. It can reach a greater number of cancer patients than the limited capacity of services such as the Sydney Cancer Survivorship Centre.”
After the initial pilot phase, the program will be evaluated with view to roll-out statewide.People with a cancer diagnosis should speak to their clinician for more information about how to access the program.