Dr Carmelo Aquilina graduated from the University of Malta in 1986 and started his psychiatric training in Liverpool, UK in 1988 and trained as an old age psychiatrist in North London in 1991 and has worked in the UK and New Zealand. before coming to Australia in 2008. His academic interests include the history of psychiatry, dementia, ethics, and health economics, the effects of air travel on cognition, self-neglect in old age and lifestyle and health.
Title: Live Well : enabling healthy lifestyles as part of routine clinical care
Introduction: Despite increases in life expectancy in Australia, this does not usually mean people are healthier. Health is determined in part by lifestyle and nutrition, which are both modifiable and impact overall health. It is important to address these modifiable determinants of health to increase quality of life and wellbeing. Live Well is an adaptation of the Canadian Fountain of Health program. It provides mental health professionals with the skills, confidence, language and structure to initiate a dialogue about lifestyle with mental health consumers. It supports consumer-directed small, achievable and sustainable lifestyle changes that over time will improve resilience health and wellbeing. The intervention is easy to learn and can be incorporated within routine clinical encounters in mental health.
Method: Clinicians conducted education regarding modifiable lifestyle factors with access to resources both in-person and online. One SMART goal was set in one of the following domains:
• Physical activity
• Social activity
• Healthy eating
• Mental activity
• Mental wellbeing
• Positive thinking
Self-rated wellbeing was rated at outset. Follow-up was conducted at 6 and 12 weeks. Wellbeing, goal achievement and satisfaction with the intervention were rated. Consumers could change the goal during the intervention.
Results & Findings: 65 participants were recruited, 51 completed the intervention. Overall, improvements in the engagement in the domains, self-perceived wellbeing, goal achievement and satisfaction in the intervention were reported.
Discussion: Modifiable lifestyle factors can be addressed to improve health and wellbeing in elderly consumers of Mental Health services as part of routine clinical care.