Diabetic Patients at Wentworth Hospital Get Fit with Biokineticists
The College of Health Sciences’ Departments of Family Medicine and Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences recently partnered with Wentworth Hospital’s Diabetic clinic to provide supervised exercise therapy to patients.
The clinic was started two-years ago by UKZN’s Specialist Family Physicians Drs Micci Govender and Keshena Naidoo after noticing the high prevalence of diabetes in the Wentworth community. The clinic provides group therapy and individual consultations conducted by a multi-disciplinary team.
Patients at the clinic had requested an exercise demonstration and this led to the clinic’s collaboration with Dr Takshita Sookan, UKZN’s Lecturer and Research Co-ordinator: Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences.
Sookan’s Biokinetics honours students, overseen by qualified Biokineticists/postgraduate students, provide a structured and supervised exercise programme to the diabetic patients fortnightly.
The patients participate in both aerobic and resistance exercises, as recommended for most people with diabetes, said Sookan.
They also receive a printed home exercise programme and their blood glucose levels are monitored pre- and post-sessions.
Regular exercise has been shown to improve glycaemic control thus reducing the need for oral hypoglycaemic agents and insulin. This initiative is aimed at improving patients’ enthusiasm for exercise and also to encourage lifestyle changes that can enhance glycaemic control. ‘Patient care is a team sport,’ said Naidoo. ‘Biokineticists are able to transform recommendations on exercise into practice,’ she added.
According to Sookan, feedback from patients has been positive. ‘Significant improvements in blood sugar were noted post-exercise,’ said Sookan. ‘This is a great step forward in implementing exercise as medicine for these patients and introducing Biokinetics into the public sector. This is a research interest of mine. The goal is to improve the quality of life and prognosis for these patients and decrease the burden on health systems with sustainable and cost-effective interventions such as exercise,’ she explained.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini