28 Jul Fantastic facilities are just what James prescribed
James MacAuslan took one look at Timboon and District Healthcare Service’s (TDHS) state-of-the-art gym and knew it was where he wanted to ply his trade.
The exercise physiologist has just filled a brand-new position at TDHS – a position that was driven by the community during the Community Survey and Conversation Caravan project conducted in 2018.
James said he was working alongside Allied Health Assistant Tracey Heeps, and physiotherapist Sarah Rahles-Rahbula to deliver a new service for the whole area.
“I’m a qualified exercise physiologist which is different to a physiotherapist. We treat clients purely with exercise prescriptions that are tailored for their individual needs,” he said.
“Whereas a physiotherapist offers hands-on treatments to manage acute injuries, exercise physiologists deliver clinical exercise programs to treat the symptoms of chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.”
James said he had worked in the same role in Canberra and Hamilton, but had never enjoyed facilities like those available to the community in Timboon.
“I couldn’t believe all this space and equipment was here when I first saw it. For such a small health service to have such a good set up is fantastic. There’s so much scope to broaden programs for people – it’s such an asset,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to start a new service – something that wasn’t here already. I started five weeks ago and it’s been busy.”
James said clients could be referred to him by their GP, or they could self-refer by calling reception on 5558 6000.
“At the first appointment, we’ll do a comprehensive medical history, talk through past exercise history, set some goals and work on relevant behavior changes,” he said.
“We’ll progress through a variety of tests to analyse base fitness, what we need to improve, what your strength is like and closely monitor heart rate, oxygen saturations and other measures to keep it safe and begin developing an exercise prescription.
“I like to see people, who are acutely unwell, weekly or at least fairly regularly at first. Then over time as their independence starts coming back, we progress towards a home exercise or community gym program.
“We work together very closely and everyone is different. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with clients I’ve already met and to meeting lots of new people who can benefit from having an exercise physiologist right here in Timboon.”
James is also looking forward to finally getting married, after two previous wedding dates were stymied by COVID-19 lockdowns.