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STRONG Medicine launches at Concord

The Hon. Ryan Park MP joined Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson AM to officially open the Centre.

SydneyConnect Video: Centre for STRONG Medicine at Concord

Gwen Stackpool is proud of her latest achievement - she has hit a personal best of 130 kilograms on the leg press.

“I did quite well. Vigorous, believe it or not,” she said, of the milestone she reached at Concord Hospital’s STRONG Medicine Centre.

Attending the STRONG Centre has had a significant impact on the 88-year old’s outlook and provided her with the capabilities to live unaided. 

“Mum's mood has improved; her physical abilities have improved. She is now going out whereas she wasn't going out of the house at all,” Gwen’s daughter Gai said.

STRONG Medicine stands for Strength Training, Rehabilitation and Outreach Needs in Geriatric Medicine.

The Centre for STRONG Medicine Concord service helps older adults with chronic disease and frailty optimise their physical function and mental wellbeing, through evidence-based strength, balance and aerobic training combined with an individual diet plan.

The team of geriatricians, exercise physiologists and a dietitian aim to enable individuals to maintain their independence, reduce their risk of falls, and avoid hospitalisation.

NSW Health Minister Hon. Ryan Park MP recently joined Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson and hospital General Manager, Joseph Jewitt, to officially open the Centre.

“Physical exercise done in a targeted way using an evidence base and research is exactly what we need to see going forward, to keep older people living well in their community,” Minster Park said.

The Centre is one of the many novel programs within the Aged Health and Rehabilitation care stream to support older people at the hospital.

“Concord has always been a place of innovation, with exceptional staff. The Centre for STRONG Medicine is a wonderful example of this,” Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson AM said.

The STRONG model of care was first piloted at Balmain Hospital and has supported more than 2,900 people since it was first established in 1999.

Evaluation of the STRONG program at Balmain found an 84 per cent reduction of nursing home admissions and mortality in patients 12 months after attending the clinic.

“STRONG is a paradigm shift,” District Clinical Director for Aged Care Rehabilitation, General Medicine and Endocrinology Associate Professor John Cullen said.

“We've moved from being reactive, to treating illnesses and providing rehabilitation after significant events such as strokes and hip fractures. To being proactive, to being pre-emptive and to take that rehabilitation process into a truly restorative and preventative focus.”

More than 65,000 residents living in Sydney Local Health District are aged over 70, and the STRONG Clinic is just one of the ways the District is helping people to stay healthy at all stages of their lives.

“The Centre has had an overwhelming response from the residents in our local area. The ability to provide our patients with this service and to address the needs of our ageing population has been a significant point of difference in our program of care at Concord,” Concord Head of Department, Geriatric Medicine, Dr Louise Waite, said.

On completing her twelve weeks at STRONG, Gwen has nothing but praise for the team.

“It’s such an encouraging and happy atmosphere, the team is so welcoming. From the time we came to reception till the time we came into the gym. They're so caring, they are so supportive. And the approach is very holistic,” Gwen said.

The Centre for STRONG Medicine is in the new Rusty Priest building at Concord Hospital.

The building is one of a range of enhancements to Concord Hospital as part of the now completed $341 million redevelopment.