UXBRIDGE: There is a global health initiative, that began in 2007, called “Exercise is Medicine”. This initiative was brought about to make a systemic change, through changing entire health care systems. “At Body Fit we believe that this change will have the most impact if it starts right in the Doctors office. However, we also understand that a Doctor's traditional scope of practice does not include comprehensive pre-exercise assessments or preparing exercise programs for their patients”, says Andy Luukkonen, Owner of Body Fit Health Club.
On September 21st, Body Fit Health Club launched it’s Physician Communication Program, at the Uxbridge Health Centre. “For the Doctors, it’s as simple as writing out a prescription for medication and it's just as a easy to “fill” out for the patients” says Luukkonen. This system, for exercise referral, was developed in collaboration with Dr. Carlye Jensen and Andy Luukkonen, Owners of Body Fit Health Club.
“While I can prescribe various medicines to help with blood pressure, diabetes, back pain and many other ailments, these pills are nothing compared to the results that can be achieved with healthy eating and exercise. Daily exercise is good for the body as well as the mind and soul, and is the best prescription a doctor can provide.” says Dr. Carlye Jensen.
This “system”, as Luukkonen calls it, is both simple yet comprehensive at the same time.
Individuals can get involved, through their Doctor or any other health care provider, such as a Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist or even their insurance case manager, in the event of a claim that requires rehabilitation. Even if you haven’t been referred by anyone, Luukkonen and his staff can get you started.
The integral part of the system comes down to communication. “Many clients have come to us and say that their Dr. told them they need to join a gym and get some exercise”, says Luukkonen, but don’t know the Doctors main areas of concern, or many details about why the Doctor recommended exercise. It’s kind of like, a situation of, “broken telephone”, says Luukkonen, “but the Communication Program takes care of all these details.”
Doctors can now fill out a prescription form and hand it to their patients. It will detail the areas of concern and provide other need to know information, for the fitness professional. Instructions on how to “fill” the prescription are on the back of the prescription form. Patients then bring the prescription to Body Fit Health Club. Patients will receive a comprehensive assessment, a free trial membership to use the facility, and several options, to follow through with the Doctors recommendations. Details of the assessment and a recommended exercise plan, will be faxed to the referring Doctor, along with the patient’s authorization, enabling the physical fitness professional to communicate directly with the Doctor for future follow-up.
The same process of communication would be used, regardless of which health care professional refers a patient. It’s also worth noting, Body Fit understands that not everyone is a “gym” person. Once their trainers have completed the initial assessment, they can also create exercise plans to be done at home or outside. Purchasing a gym membership is not required, as regular follow-up is part of the exercise prescription. Although exercise programs at fitness facilities are not covered by OHIP, depending on the patient’s situation, some insurance plans may cover the cost.
If you would like to learn more about Body Fit’s Physician Communication Program, visit their website, at www.bodyfit.ca, and look under the membership and services tab. Otherwise, if you would like to schedule a personal meeting, simply call Andy, at 905-852-6175, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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