Ko Awatea has published an improvement guide describing how an innovative self-management support model has improved quality of life for people with long-term conditions.
The model was created by the Folau I Lagi-Ma project team as part of the Manaaki Hauora – Supporting Wellness campaign, which aimed to provide self-management support for people living with long-term conditions in Counties Manukau.
Folau I Lagi-Ma integrates occupational therapy with peer support in a primary care setting to deliver better, more holistic care for people who experience both physical and mental health symptoms as a result of long-term conditions.
Traditionally, occupational therapists are employed in secondary healthcare services, and the benefits of peer support in secondary services have been reported at Counties Manukau Health. The Folau I Lagi-Ma team believed they could also provide positive outcomes cost-effectively in a primary care setting, says Fionna Sutherland, team manager for The Cottage Community Mental Health Centre and Regional Dual Disability Service.
The team aimed to improve each patient’s quality of life scores on the EUROHIS-QOL index by four points. EUROHIS-QOL measures quality of life across eight domains, such as satisfaction with health, energy level, finances and satisfaction with living conditions. Eight out of ten patients who completed the index before and after participating in Folau I Lagi-Ma achieved the four point improvement.
Folau I Lagi-Ma has made a huge difference to patients such as Lagianne, a 36-year-old Samoan woman with multiple physical health issues, including obesity, respiratory disorders and diabetes. She also suffers stress, anxiety and low mood related to her physical health problems.
“I went through other services and lost weight for three months or so, but then I put it back on. When I met with Folau I Lagi-Ma it was different. They have been a big help. They gave me ideas and knowledge around food, meals and health, encouraged me with my goals and advocated for me with Housing New Zealand. They helped me to do things step-by-step at my own pace,” she says, adding that she has maintained the changes she’s made through Folau I Lagi-Ma for over a year now. Her blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels have all improved, she is more active and no longer needs an oxygen machine during the day.