As a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, and a Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician of the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine, I feel privileged to write this article introducing the first multidisciplinary Lifestyle Medicine specific centre in Australia, located in Tumbi Umbi on the NSW Central Coast.
The Lifestyle Medicine Centre (LMC) is a purpose-built, multi-disciplinary facility that expresses vitality through an abundance of natural light, a green outlook and a modern but minimalistic fit-out. The location comprises a reception area, 3 consultation rooms, manager’s office and a waiting room which also serves as the programmed shared medical appointment (pSMA)/ workshop/ seminar space.
Our purpose is to provide professional coaching and support for lifestyle modification, weight-loss, habit change and chronic disease prevention and reversal.
The LMC has adapted the traditional Bio-Psycho-Social model of care and created a unique, patient-focused model, “Learn–Do–Share”. This model takes the proven outcomes from the Bio-Psycho-Social structure and applies it in a style designed to equip patients with the ability to understand their body and make sustainable changes to their lifestyle.
The Learn-Do-Share model of patient care will be delivered by our multi-disciplinary team through 1:1 consultations, clinical case conferencing, our successful pSMA group-based “I Can Change Me” (ICCM) program, and specifically mentored walking groups and community events.
The ICCM program is a unique concept designed around the medical sub-speciality of Lifestyle Medicine and the Core Competencies of Lifestyle Medicine. This program is clinically designed to prevent or reverse chronic disease while defining the “why” and “how” to feeling good about yourself from the inside.
Currently, the ICCM program has been operating for 16 months, and in that time has seen many patients drastically improve their health, change habits and lead a life with more vitality. The successful outcomes of the program has provided the LMC with three Mentors, two of whom are completing their Life Coaching accreditation. They are now part of our multi-disciplinary team, offering peer-support and empathetic coaching in a patient’s journey.
The Lifestyle Medicine Centre also offers social support through the “Move More 4 Life” walking program, walking challenges, group social events, cooking classes and workshops.
The multi-disciplinary team at the LMC includes:
- Lifestyle Medicine Certified GPs
- Lifestyle Medicine trained Psychologist
- Clinical Psychologists
- Exercise Physiologist and Physiotherapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Mentors and Life Coaches
My goal with the LMC is to establish it as a referral centre or direct port of call for patients ready to make lifestyle modification and “add Years to their Life and Life to their Years”. It aims to deliver high quality, evidence-based education and support by a selected and passionate team of professionals.
Already, there has been a resounding response from local AHP providers and Specialists who have pro-actively reached out to myself and the Lifestyle Medicine Centre to enquire about how we can collaborate. We have already established several relationships with other providers on the Coast to co-deliver evidence-based programs with initial results and feedback being very positive both from the professionals and the patients.
The Centre will introduce a “membership” method of medical care later in the year that offers patients a triaged package of services, programs and plenty of social support systems.
Our goal is to provide a service that can be tailored to the patients individual needs, and equip them with access to the services and resources necessary for their health change.
I have been a GP for 20 years, with experience in a range of chronic disease and weight-loss programs. I am a strong advocate that lifestyle-induced chronic disease prevention and reversal, that addresses behaviour change at its core, should be delivered by trained and passionate Lifestyle Medicine skilled clinicians who apply a “coaching” style of evidence-based Bio-Psycho-Social patient care.
At this stage, it may be the best model available to address the huge pandemic affecting our society, and something the proposed “Health Care Homes”/ capitation model could pay attention to.
This article has been written for the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ASLM) by the documented original author. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the ASLM or its Board.