Reach for Health is the operating name of the charity Daventry Health Rehabilitation Trust, a registered charity that was formed in 2010 from an organisation that has been in operation for over 20 years. Our team at Reach for Health have wide ranging skills that are all focused on one specific purpose, health rehabilitation. Although many of our users are from Daventry and the surrounding villages, we provide continuing exercise based health rehabilitation for people from communities across Northamptonshire, from Warwickshire and sometimes further afield. Our Daventry centre helps those who have experienced a major health trauma together with those experiencing long-term and life-long serious health conditions. We are now experiencing around 2,400 user visits per month excluding those that attend the specialist classes that we operate. We are an NHS Accredited Willing Provider, and work with the Northampton General Hospital Community Stroke Team, the Cardio Rehabilitation Team, the NHS Restart Team and C.O.P.D. patients. Over 90% of our users were referred to us by their GP’s, NHS Hospital doctors and consultants or other Health Professionals. We are currently receiving in the region of 500 new NHS referrals per year. Despite the fact that we are recognised so strongly by the NHS we receive no income from them or any other governmental organisation. Our current sources of income are derived from a small monthly charge to users, that equates to an average of £2.30 per visit, local fundraising carried out by our staff, volunteers, members and trustees and occasional grants that are invariably used to purchase new equipment.
The work done by Reach for Health benefits the health economy in a number of ways, including:
Improved mental and physical health & wellbeing with personalised care
- Effective falls prevention
- Reduced primary care demand
- Reduced GP & NHS outpatient appointments
- Reduced prescribed medication
- Cardio Rehabilitation – reduction in further cardiac events
- Improved life expectancy from improvement in all-round integrated care
- Increased self-care ability of the community
- Reduced social isolation
As a society we have to accept that with increasing pressures on the funding and resources of the NHS, community based rehabilitation is and will be for some time to come, low priority. That does not however take away the need for such services; we just have to find smarter ways of providing them. We must also recognise that lack of effective health rehabilitation merely serves to further increase the pressure on the NHS. The NHS is something that overall we should be immensely proud of and at some time in our lives we all come to rely on the medical expertise that it provides. Whilst some of us may complain and criticise, sometimes justifiably, many of us owe our lives to this outstanding organisation and the people who work within it. However, if we experience a major health trauma or suffer a long-term illness we cannot expect the NHS to take responsibility for us beyond getting us back to safe and reasonable health. Following a major health trauma, e.g. a stroke or major heart surgery, the NHS can only offer their services for a limited period of time. After that we have to take responsibility for ourselves in coming to terms with our situation and finding the will, determination and means of gaining as much improvement in our physical and mental wellbeing as possible. This is what Reach for Health helps with and does so well.
If you or your organisation wish to be associated with this amazing charity please contact me to discuss how you can help or for any further information that you may require. We would be very pleased to hear from any potential commercial sponsors.
‘’Thank you doctor- that’s the best thing you have ever advised me to do.”
That sums up people’s reaction after joining Reach for Health, (RfH), and experiencing the support that patients with a whole range of physical, emotional and psychological conditions receive within this rehabilitative centre.
I am a local GP and the Medical director of the local Clinical Commissioning Group, which organises and pays for health care. I firmly believe in the physical, psychological and social benefits of exercise.
I first met the team at RfH four years ago after a pub conversation backfired and resulted in me entering a sponsored cycle ride from Lands End to John O’Groats. For the ride to be meaningful, I decided to support an exercise-based charity. It was at this point that I discovered RfH is not just a gym. Reach for Health – it is so much more than that. The first time I visited RfH, I was met by a group of more mature clients, who, while they were exercising, were also putting the world to rights and laughing a lot. Clearly they were adding life to their years and having a great time. The atmosphere of positivity was infective and certainly kept me going up some of those Scottish hills.
Being able to refer patients to Reach for Health is invaluable for the whole range of people that I see. Young and old, sad, injured or having a long term health condition; everybody benefits from the tailored program that they develop with the team. The goals that are set are suitable to their condition and particular circumstances and the greatest encouragement that they get is from other members. The smile on the face and change in attitude of the sceptics who come back to the surgery after a couple of sessions is inspiring.
Undoubtedly, exercise and rehabilitation are an essential part of a high quality pathway of care for people with any chronic condition. Evidence has shown that helping somebody to be more active reduces their risk of developing diabetes and aids people in their recovery from an episode of depression. Keeping older people active helps prevent falls, improves breathlessness and promotes independence – especially after an illness. Unfortunately, the pressure on the NHS means that rehabilitation and exercise are at the back of the queue when it comes to available resources. This serves to further underline the need for Reach for Health to continue to provide their outstanding expertise for those in our community that are in need of it.
I am a passionate believer in the benefits of exercise – getting people active, engaged and energised is the key to a healthy and motivated population. It is the antidote to our unhealthy lifestyles – working for long hours in front of our computer screens.
We have reached a critical point for Reach for Health, with the need to have a new facility that can build on the fabulous work that has been achieved by the team so far. We cannot risk losing the services that the team provide and must support the development of the proposed new building so that a more people can have the opportunity to enhance, and in some cases, rebuild their lives.
I urge everybody to work with Reach for Health to let patients become clients and prevent clients becoming patients.
Dr. Matthew Davies
MB BS DRCOG DCH MRCGP Registered 1987 Guys
As a nation the population is getting older, the number of people over the age of 65 is predicted to rise to 24% by 2035. In 1975 those living past 65 was only 14.1%. This increase is largely due to huge advances in modern medicine and people’s living conditions and lifestyle resulting in people living longer. This impacts in a number of ways, perhaps the most significant being that longer life often results in serious health conditions occurring.
The increase in life expectancy of the population is already having a major impact on the NHS and the economy and in future years this is only likely to become greater. It is therefore vital that we tackle two principal issues; educate people in ways to improve their fitness, diet and lifestyle and find ways to deal with the need for health rehabilitation for those already affected and who will become affected by major health issues. For example, Diabetes is costing the NHS £1.5 million pounds every hour and ranks in the top 5 referrals we receive at Reach for Health.
Reach for Health is striving to make a difference, to do more than just help people live longer, it is dedicated to adding quality of life to those extra years, thereby reduce the impact of major health issues and in turn reduce the cost to the NHS.
It is increasingly acknowledged that effective exercise based health rehabilitation and understanding delivers better outcomes and improved quality of life. It also shows the economic benefits to our local community and across the local health and care systems as a whole in making significant cost savings. Improving an individual’s general health and condition prevents all manner of things happening to them, but in the older population, most specifically, it helps prevent falls; probably the greatest single cost to the NHS.
The Cardio rehabilitation programme running at Reach for Health for people who have had heart attacks or cardiac surgery, has been shown to 3 reduce the risk of death by 18% in the year following the event and reduce re-admissions to hospital by 31%.
Reach for Health also runs groups and classes for people suffering from conditions such as COPD, Parkinson’s and Stroke that are designed to improve the individual’s general health.
The team at Reach for Health achieves this by focusing on the impact that the health condition, developmental difficulty or resulting disability has had on the person’s life. We focus on the person rather than focusing on just their illness. This involves working in partnership with the person’s Health Professional and teaming up with the individual and those important to them. The outcome is to enable them to gain more independence, and allowing them to have an improved level of choice and control over their own lives again.
After a serious illness, operation or injury, you may recover slowly. You may need to regain strength, relearn skills or find new ways of doing things you did before. This is the rehabilitation process we use that helps hundreds of people each year, to equip them for living their lives with lifelong health conditions or trauma. It helps them to fulfil their maximum potential and optimise their contribution to family life, their community and society as a whole.
With the support of our dedicated local doctors, highly skilled nurses and other health professionals, the number of new referrals to Reach for Health has risen to around 500 annually and each year this has been growing by around 10%. To meet this increasing demand we need to expand our services and make them more accessible to more people.
‘Inspiring Times’ is certainly a fitting title for the work of Reach for Health and the impact this has had on those, like me, who make use of it. In January 2013 I suffered a serious haemorrhagic stroke, requiring life-saving brain surgery, and was discharged from hospital some 7 months later with a full hoist, a lack of mobility in my left limbs, no left-field vision, very little short-term memory and, perhaps worst of all, a deepening despair about my future. The NHS provided valuable support in the early stages of my injury, particularly from those specialists operating in the front line. However, one soon discovers that this support is always temporary, especially for those patients who have difficulty in making rapid and sustained progress in the early stages. While the NHS will strive heroically to keep us alive, our families have to seek other sources of rehabilitation which are not easily found without great personal effort and expense. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that Reach for Health has become the major source of progress and a significant haven of hope for me: and for those at home who devote many hours to my care, amusement and additional practice. A unique feature of the gym is its atmosphere of good humour and support, not just generated from the staff, but more especially from fellow members who follow each other’s progress closely and freely offer their congratulations for any sign of improvement. Many would site this as a significant antidote to despair and a major reason why they continue the struggle against the odds.
Over time, it dawned on us that Reach for Health has no interest in resting on its laurels. Indeed, as the brochure explains, this is not even an option. Not only does it recruit able staff and volunteers, it helps them to keep up to date in their knowledge and training in what is a rapidly changing field of medicine and development of techniques to aid rehabilitation from brain injury. The notice boards are never stale, repeatedly offering new fund-raising ventures, new courses designed for existing and new members, along with details of external sources of interest and support. Trustees of the charity are frequent visitors to the gym and it is obvious from overheard conversations between them and staff that the organisation is full of ideas and the energy to fulfil them. They already have an excellent record in planning and developing a first-rate enterprise. This has continued to provide a rare and valuable resource for those seeking to overcome life-changing injuries and doing so in a very difficult financial environment. Without our help the chances of its own survival are uncertain and, if it fails to survive, what message will it leave for others who would seek to follow its example. As a consequence, those who know will happily do whatever we can to sustain and, if possible, help it to expand this dream for those who follow us.