Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Virtual Rehab Helping Mackay Residents Recover At Home

Patients across Central Queensland recovering from heart procedures are now able to access rehabilitation care and monitoring from home, no matter where in the region they live.

Mater Private Hospital Townsville has introduced virtual cardiac rehabilitation services for patients unable to attend face to face sessions due to distance or lack of transport. The virtual rehabilitation includes two video consultations a week with a specialist clinician complemented by a phone application developed by Queensland scientific technology company Cardihab, which tracks patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, steps walked and more.

Mackay resident Sharon Nuttall said the virtual rehabilitation sessions allowed her to recover from home.

“I’m fit and healthy, and exercise regularly – I used to jog 6 km or swim 30 laps, however a coronary calcium scan showed my overall calcium score was well above average and my main artery was 70 per cent blocked,” Ms Nuttall said.

“I was admitted to Mater Private Hospital Townsville and underwent a triple bypass. Following the procedure, staff discussed Mater’s virtual rehabilitation program with me which would allow me to rehabilitate from home rather than having to travel.

“Mater’s virtual cardiac rehabilitation program is a great idea, especially for regional areas of Queensland without ready access to specialist care. I’m still completing my rehabilitation program but am already feeling the difference.”

Mater Private Hospital Townsville Exercise Physiologist Shaun Whiley said prior to the pilot program, participation rates for cardiac rehabilitation in regional areas was low.

“The virtual rehabilitation program began following our Allied Health Manager and I identifying that a large number of cardiac patients from areas outside of Townsville would not adhere to any sort of rehabilitation or care plan until their six week consultation with a cardiologist,” Mr Whiley said. “Rehabilitation is vitally important, not only because research suggests that those who do not rehabilitate following heart procedures have a higher chance of being rehospitalised, but so these people can return to their normal lives: we are from a region where everyone is very physical and social in work, social and family settings.

“Knowing that these sessions have given patients the confidence to return to normal following what can be in many cases very significant procedures is why cardiac rehabilitation is so important.

“Delivering virtual rehabilitation means regional and remote communities do not have to drive two or three hours to access a clinician. Participants to date have been from Mackay, Charters Towers, Ravenshoe and more – if there is anyone who cannot access cardiac rehabilitation in their region, from Mackay up to the Cape and West to the border, Mater is here.”

Mackay Resident Sharon Nuttall (on screen) with Mater Private Hospital Townsville Exercise Physiologist Rachel Armstrong

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