National Diabetes Week – 9th – 15th July

Half a million people could have Type 2 Diabetes but don’t know it.

At Remedy Healthcare, our health coaching programs provide information and support not only for people living with diabetes but also for those at risk, helping them to identify and reduce their risk factors. To find out more about our health coaching programs, click here

To assess your Type 2 Diabetes risk, click here

This National Diabetes Week, let’s work together to raise awareness about the silent and often undiagnosed condition, Type 2 Diabetes and spread the word that “It’s About Time” we detected diabetes earlier.

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Life with MS

Did you know that every working day, 4 Australians are diagnosed with MS?

At the same time, every day Remedy Healthcare is supporting those with MS to live well through Remedy’s phone-based support programs.

Last week was World MS Day and this year’s theme is “Life with MS”. At Remedy we wanted to shine a spotlight on what that means and show our support for those within our own community living with MS. We did this by forming a Remedy Team, and taking part in the MS Fun Run Walk, held last weekend at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. It was an amazing opportunity to support people living well with MS and to raise much needed funds and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis.

It was a great turnout by the Melbourne MS Australia community, and we look forward to another successful event next year!

Picture: Some of our Remedy Healthcare team participating in the MS Walk/Fun Run held at Albert Park on the weekend. A fantastic turnout and great to see so many people supporting the MS Australia community!

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Step to remedy mental health

(This article first appeared in the Australian Financial Review)

At the start of last year Michelle, an audiologist in Melbourne’s outer east­ern suburbs, felt her anxiety and depression flaring up after several years of having had it under control.

Five years into her career, she had taken on more responsibility at her clinic. She was becoming “very, very anxious” and suffering from initial physical symptoms – but not the crip­pling panic attacks during her master’s degree in audiology in about 2009.

Back then, due to anxiety over things like assessments, she would be immobilised in her bedroom, with dif­ficulty breathing and having to lie down and wait the symptoms out. She wasn’t absent from university, but her work was affected, she says.

The health system has struggled to cope with untreated mental health con­ditions, which are estimated to cost the economy about $11 billion a year. Six million days are lost to depression each year and more than 3 million Australi­ans suffer disabling stress, worry, anxi­ety, low mood and depression.

Finding more effective ways to treat chronic disease is the Holy Grail of healthcare, which costs more than $155 billion a year-about 9 per cent of GDP – in Australia. Public systems have been slow to move despite countless reports urging them to do so.

Mental health imposes the second largest burden on the community after cardiovascular disease, equal to injur­ies and larger than respiratory diseases and cancer. Australian Unity is talking to more partners – rival insurers and employers -and targeting more condi­tions for a similar approach.

Around the time Michelle’s symp­toms recurred a year ago, her employer emailed staff about a telephone coach­ing service for staff with certain health conditions, including anxiety and depression. It was provided by Remedy Healthcare, part of Australian Unity.

The insurer was alarmed at the growth in claims a decade ago, espe­cially for chronic diseases. It cast about for programs to slow mental health claims growing at 15 per cent a year.

Remedy’s MindStep program, adap­ted from one used by Britain’s National Health Service, targeted anxiety and depression and has proved so success­ful in its first year that Australian Unity is planning to widen its embrace to post-traumatic stress disorder, pain management, post-natal depression. Amanda Hagan, head of health, would also like to tackle youth mental health.

Michelle got in touch with MindStep and – after a few getting-to-know-you emails and a history-taking session – had her first coaching session.

Coaches are not qualified psychiatric professionals but come from allied health fields and receive 12 months’ intensive training, paid for by Remedy. They follow a structured program and are supervised remotely by clinicians who scan transcripts of coaching ses­sions and refer anyone showing acute symptoms-such as thoughts of suicide – for immediate help.

Michelle’s coach explained how anxiety manifests in physical and emo­tional symptoms, and over the course of subsequent “meetings” -weekly, and then quarterly-they worked out some goals for Michelle to pursue.

One was simply to be sure to catch up with friends once a week -to try to get out of the habit of becoming a “recluse” whenever she became anxious or depressed. A second was just to keep her house clean. Michelle lives by herself in a unit, and wanted to be able to take pride in her home even during bouts of anxiety and depression.

By the time Michelle finished with MindStep in October, she had dis­covered a lot of things that triggered her anxiety, such as worrying about things that were outside her control.

Her coach gave her tools for coping, such as recognising when she is worry­ing about things unnecessarily, and nipping them in the bud before they become more serious.

“I still have my moments when I get a bit stressed but I recognise those moments earlier than I did and I am able to deal with them better than before,” Michelle says.

“I am happier than I was a few years ago and happier than I was at the start of the year [2016]. I am able to work more productively and get back to whatever it was that I was doing before those stresses came along.”

For Australian Unity, results are also pleasing. Three-quarters of those who have been through MindStep report an improvement, and 55 per cent show no clinical signs of anxiety or depression.

Claims costs have fallen $7800 per person per year for the cohort, and average days in hospital and re­admissions are sharply down. The insurer has saved $4 million in the first year of the program.

If it can replicate these gains more broadly, we may just make a dent in the $155 billion healthcare bill.

Ben Potter (2016, January 10) Step to remedy mental health The Australian Financial Review Retrieved from http://www.afr.com.au

Photo: Josh Robenstone

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Remedy launches online referral tool

Remedy Healthcare can now accept referrals directly on our website. Our online form is quick and easy to use, allows you to attach other documents, and saves time on hunting for paper forms! Hospitals, GPs and medical professionals can refer patients to Remedy online for the following programs:

• Hospital Care at Home
• Rehab at home
• Specific Allied Health brokerage services

Our electronic form is protected so your patients’ information is safe and secure, and each referral is managed by our care-coordination team just like our paper referrals.
You can find the form here or you can navigate to the form at the top of the page by clicking on the “Refer” link.

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