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WellConnectedNZ – Improving individuals’ health by strengthening community connectedness – a proof of concept initiative

29 months
Approved budget:
Dr Michael Epton
Health issue:
Wellbeing (autonomy self-determination)
Proposal type:
Joint Research Partnership Project
Lay summary
Current approaches to rehabilitation for people who have multiple long term conditions (LTCs) including COPD, heart failure, arthritis and diabetes, do not include all aspects of well-being important for improving health. As a result, referral rates and attendance is low at the many rehabilitation programmes offered. The low referral and attendance rates, and the limitations imposed by disease-specific programmes for people with multiple LTCs, point to the need for a complete change in the way that supporting and improving health is undertaken. Rather than developing a new health focussed initiative, we want to work together with communities to develop and try initiatives that help people with multiple LTCs to access community support, increase their sense of connectedness within their community, improve physical activity, and thus live lives they feel are fulfilling and worthwhile. To determine the best ways to achieve this, we plan to involve a wide range of people within the community, including those with multiple LTCs, to develop meaningful ways to improve community and social connectedness. There will be a focus on new technologies, or new ways of using technology, and how to best include health related messages and interventions within what’s already happening within communities. The aim will be to develop capabilities of communities to support people with LTCs. We hope that all members of a community will benefit, with particular emphasis on those with multiple LTCs, with increased physical activity, improved literacy (including health literacy), and new strategies to better manage their own health and well-being.