Up to 100 Tasmanians set to avoid unnecessary surgeries

Up to 100 Tasmanians set to avoid unnecessary surgeries

One hundred Tasmanians living with Osteoarthritis (OA) have signed up to a pilot program designed to prevent them from having avoidable hip or knee joint replacement surgery in the next 12 months.

OA is a chronic degenerative joint disease and a major cause of pain and disability for around 2.2 million Australians, anticipated to rise to 3.1 million by 2030.

St.LukesHealth Chief Health Officer, Luke Cameron, said the program was the first of its kind, not only for the organisation, but also for the state, providing an alternative to Tasmanians who had limited options other than surgery.

“We are thrilled to have launched this innovation, delivered in partnership with Kieser Australia – an allied health-led network of exercise scientists, exercise physiologists and physiotherapists,” Mr Cameron said.

“Joint replacement surgery is one of the major financial burdens on our hospital system and we know from Kieser programs conducted in Victoria and overseas that between 60-75 per cent of participants have managed to avoid surgery.

“The program is just one of the ways we’re working towards our vision of making Tasmania the healthiest island in the world, not only benefiting those who participate, but importantly easing the load on our state’s health system.

“Not only will the pilot provide another option for clinicians and patients who don’t want to either recommend or undergo surgery, but it will also deliver findings that can inform and facilitate the further development of alternative care models.

“This has the potential to take immense pressure off the hospital system, but most importantly, it empowers participants to regain control of their own condition and maintain a better quality of life.”

The program has been custom developed to improve participants’ condition through physiotherapy, exercise, strength development and education, in a safe and supervised environment.

Importantly, it also aims to reduce their pain levels and improve their ability to undertake and enjoy everyday activities, providing them with a long-term self-management program.

Case Study – Mark Newell started the program in December and completed it on March 14.

“The results have been amazing, and I have been recommending the program, and Kieser, to as many people as possible. I have also taken up a membership, to continue to build the strength needed to cope with my Osteoarthritis.

“My pain has dropped considerably (I would say by around 60% since I started), and I am feeling good. If the doctor had suggested surgery when I first went to see her, I would have jumped at the chance. Now, no way!

“St.LukesHealth needs to be highly commended for such a great initiative as this.”