Deliver the HEAL™ Program within the Hunter New England Central Coast PHN (HNECCPHN)

Expressions of Interest are now open for health professionals to deliver the funded Healthy Eating, Activity & Lifestyle (HEAL™) Program within the Hunter New England Central Coast PHN (HNECCPHN).

Kinetic Medicine, in partnership with Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA), has been awarded funding to provide mental health services and in-reach support for older Australians by implementing and delivering the Mental Health version of the Healthy Eating, Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL™) program in the Mid-Coast and Port Stephens LGA and throughout the HNECCPHN.

This project specifically targets those who are at risk of, or have, mental health issues and experience social isolation and/or loneliness as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic by addressing Australians over 65 years and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55 residing in the community.

The Healthy Eating Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL™) program is a lifestyle modification program that enables participants to develop lifelong healthy behaviours focused on improving diet, physical activity, mental health, and social well-being through an 8-week face-to-face program delivered by tertiary trained health professionals. HEAL™ consists of 8 weekly group education and group exercise sessions as well as individual consultations pre- and post-program, plus 5 and 12-month follow-up health consultations. Each week participants undertake 1-hour of supervised group-based low to moderate intensity physical activity followed by a 1-hour group-based healthy lifestyle education class.

Project Outcomes

The role of this project will allow for the connection of older Australians to appropriate services and support, reconnecting older Australians to social networks, restoring access to face-to-face services that have been disrupted by the pandemic, and enabling early intervention to address those who have, or are at risk of, mental illnesses. The implementation of the HEAL™ program within the HNECCPHN will achieve these outcomes by providing a service platform to engage and build social interactions to connect and reconnect older Australians to social networks.

Delivery of HEAL™ will also allow for restoration of mental health specific services which may have been disrupted due to the pandemic, and thus restore access. These restorative actions will allow for early intervention outcomes to be achieved by increasing the number of older Australians who have access (geographically and equitably) to appropriate services to address intervention of mental health issues and those at risk.

HEAL™ will address the recommended activities for people in the vulnerable population groups and will do so by:
  • Delivering mental health specific services to elderly populations within regional, rural and remote areas;
  • Implementing and including the CALD HEAL™ version in the delivery of this service to address elderly populations from culturally and linguistically diverse groups; and
  • Implementing and including the Aboriginal HEAL™ version in the delivery of this service to address elderly populations from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.

Health Professional Involvement

This tender opportunity will allow for a number of health professionals to be trained as HEAL™ Facilitators and deliver the program under a regional licence, held by Kinetic Medicine. Funding will allow for the HEAL™ program to be delivered to participants at no cost, allowing for equal opportunity and access. Remuneration will also be offered to successful health professionals for service delivery.

Essential Criteria

If you are a health professional residing within the target region, that is specifically rural areas of Hunter and New England regions (at this stage, applicants outside of these regions will not be considered), and you would like to be involved in this project, we are currently taking expressions of interest for review.

Given this project will be delivered specifically to older adults with mental illness, applicants need to demonstrate a strong focus on mental health experience, stakeholder relationships (externally to GP referrals) and significant stated experience with similar projects in the past. We are looking for applicants to emphasise their ability to meet the project outcomes within their application.

We do not want applicants to simply be considering their application as a conflation of delivering HEAL™ as a generic behaviour change program; instead, we want to see a strong application to the brief to achieve/cater for mental health outcomes amongst the elderly population.

To help formulate appropriate answers within the application form, the following key points have been identified and we would highly recommend emphasising your ability to address each:
  • Experience in delivering services to older adults with mental illness (clinically and non-clinically)
  • Established relationships with community mental health stakeholders and their resources specific to the local community
  • Capacity to deliver group services within the region including the ability to use majority own resources for service delivery (given the small budget available for exercise consumables).
It is important to note that this project allows for a limited number of health professionals to be trained and deliver the program, and as such, we envisage the expression of interest process to be highly competitive.

We would therefore encourage EOI applicants to complete the application form below and return via email to the HEAL™ Project Officer, Giorgia Brennan, at [email protected]. Please be aware that final decisions will be made at the discretion of Kinetic Medicine as the regional licence holder.

Click here to download the HEAL™ HNECCPHN Expression of Interest form 

Click here to find out more on becoming a HEAL™ Facilitator