More funding for arthritis

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Extra funding has been allocated to support South Canterbury residents living with arthritis.
A pilot programme run by the Physiotherapy Primary Intervention Group (PPIG) has proved so successful, the South Canterbury District Health Board has allocated further funding to benefit the programme over a further three years.
The education and exercise-based programme benefits people with mild to moderate lower limb arthritis of the hips and knees. Participants provide a part-payment. They are guided through the programme by physiotherapists to improve mobility.
Jan Macpherson, of Fairlie, was one of them. She completed the programme 18 months ago and was pleased she did.
‘‘I found it was just excellent at getting me mobile again.’’
She credited it for getting her back out on the golf course.
‘‘I would absolutely recommend it to anybody who’s having issues with knees and hips.’’
Under a new initiative established by the Ministry of Health, called the Mobility Action Programme, PPIG applied for funding to reduce the cost to participants. It was one of 49 programmes nationwide to apply and was just one of seven to be accepted, clinical leader and PPIG chairwoman Sharon Peck said.
‘‘So, we were very lucky to get that.’’
The funding means more physiotherapists have also been trained up to support the programme.
‘‘The programme is now being taken out to Geraldine and Fairlie, and in the new year we’re taking it out to Twizel and Waimate,’’ Mrs Peck said.
It will also continue to be offered in the gym at Timaru’s SBS Events Centre.
There are 42 people benefiting from the programme at the moment. They are supported through education and exercise.
They are assessed individually by a physiotherapist and are then given individual programmes, which they complete over 12 weeks for an hour each week.
‘‘It includes education and self-care for arthritis and we give them a lot of assistance and resources to manage their arthritis individually,’’ Mrs Peck said.
A range of professionals, aside from physiotherapists, also attend the classes to provide their support and knowledge, she said. – People can self-refer themselves or through a health professional, including GP, practice nurse or physiotherapist.