The District of Horta-Guinardó (Barcelona) and the Hospital San Rafael de Hermanas Hospitalarias have initiated a pilot test for the medical prescription of physical exercise. The goal is to empower chronic patients to take care of their health by practicing regular and controlled physical exercise, and thus prevent possible complications of their disease.
As highlighted by the governor of the District of Horta-Guinardó, Rosa Alarcón, “it is an initiative to improve the health of the residents of the area.” In this sense, “this pilot test responds to the need to promote health prevention and promotion actions in the community to face one of the main future challenges of the health system: care for the chronically ill.”
The objective of this project is that chronic patients take care of their health by practicing physical exercise on a regular basis and thus prevent complications of their
“What we are looking for is that the person be responsible for their health and this implies helping them acquire habits that allow them to take care of them outside the health system,” explains Dr. Àlex Pasarín, coordinator of the Rehabilitation Service of San Rafael Hospital. “But, at the same time, we want the patient to feel accompanied at all times and that the healthcare professional has all the necessary information for a comprehensive and personalized approach to the disease.”
For the implementation of this initiative, CAP Sant Rafael and CEM Olímpics have reached an agreement thanks to which patients who have been prescribed physical exercise in the primary care center have advantages when making use of the center Municipal sports. Specifically, they are not made to pay tuition and reduced fees apply. In addition, the Horta-Guinardó District monitors the adherence to the prescription through the figure of the project coordinator, a doctor who checks if patients have enrolled in the sports center, if they attend and how often.
The pilot test is focusing, above all, on chronic patients, for whom regular physical activity is key to avoiding complications of the disease. People with hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases, and those who suffer from osteoarthritis or back problems are the main candidates to whom to prescribe physical exercise.
The project has started thanks to the collaboration of the family doctors of CAP Sant Rafael, who have already begun to prescribe physical exercise among their patients. Likewise, from the San Rafael Hospital it is intended that the initiative be extended to other specialties, such as rheumatologists or endocrines. “The fight against sedentary lifestyle has to be approached from different disciplines and professionals have to abandon paternalistic attitudes so that the patient is actively involved in their treatment,” says Dr. Pasarín.