UQ Health Care has launched an innovative program, Logan Healthy Living, to tackle the region’s rising tide of chronic disease, with new data showing it is helping participants better manage their diabetes.

Logan has the fifth highest rate of insulin-treated type 2 diabetes in the nation. Areas within the region have a diabetes death rate nearly twice the national average.

With funding support from Health and Wellbeing Queensland, Logan Healthy Living goes beyond diet and exercise to turn around these concerning numbers.

Led by a team of allied health professionals, the program tackles the mental, emotional and social challenges facing clients living with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Those who sign up for the eight-week journey are connected with peers and resources outside clinic walls – from yoga and cooking classes to support groups.

Evaluation data from the pilot showed 86% of people reported a drop in overall distress in living with and managing their diabetes. This was measured using the Problem Areas in Diabetes tool, which covers issues such as feeling depressed, overwhelmed or ‘burned out’ as a result of living with the disease.

UQ Health Care, CEO, Darryl Grundy, says the program encourages clients to take charge of their health while keeping people out of hospital. Potentially preventable hospitalisations due to type 2 diabetes complications in Logan are nearly 40 per cent higher than the national average

“These staggering statistics inspired us to explore innovative ways to tackle diabetes,” Mr Grundy said.

UQ Health Care, a not-for-profit primary care, clinical innovation and research organisation, launched the  program in late 2021, at no cost to participants.

Logan Healthy Living Clinic Manager, Harmonee Dove, says the service sets clients up for success through building support networks and connecting them to resources in their community.

“We focus on tackling the physical, mental, emotional, and situational challenges that can hold participants back and support each client with a team committed to their success,” Ms Dove said.

“Whether it’s salsa dancing or a community support group, if it can motivate or empower clients on their longer-term journey, Logan Healthy Living facilitates that introduction. As expected, we’ve also seen the value in peer education with our clients describing ‘light bulb’ moments in workshops.

“By combining exercise physiology, physiotherapy, dietetics, diabetes education, psychology and social work perspectives in a true client-centred model of care, this program provides unprecedented, evidence-based support.”

The program, supported by students at The University of Queensland and Griffith University, covers diabetes education, goal setting, realistic dietary advice and supervised exercise using HUR technology that allows for simple, safe movement. It is designed to be inclusive, culturally appropriate and accessible.

Beyond graduating from the eight-week intensive phase of the program, participant support continues with ‘recharge sessions’ offered at one, three, six and nine months. To learn more visit the Logan Healthy Living website.

Logan Healthy Living is supported by a healthcare alliance including Health and Wellbeing Queensland, UQ Health Care, The University of Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane South PHN and Metro South Health.