Healthy Living

Healthy Living

Organisation    RehabCare Resource Centre, Quayside Business Park, Dundalk, Co. Louth.
Target Group    From age 17 to 65.  
Description  RehabCare Quayside is a day resource centre for 48 adults with mild Intellectual disability and 4 with physical and sensory disability. A number of our members are also affected by poor mental health. Many of our members are obese and are at a higher risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. They also have a high carbohydrate and sugar diet which adversely affects their health and their weight.
In 2014 RehabCare, Quayside got involved with the Irish Heart Foundation Active at Work programme. This programme was centred around the health, wellbeing and fitness of members and staff in the centre. RehabCare was awarded a Gold Certificate for the Active at Work programme. This was an educational programme to promote health and fitness at work.
On local Irish TV there was a programme called Operation Transformation for 10 weeks after Christmas which the centre encouraged people to follow. This programme was specific for people who are overweight and have health issues as a result of being overweight. The programme had 4 leaders who were given specific weight loss targets for each week. They were supported by professional dieticians, doctors and a fitness coach. People in the country could follow one of the leaders.

As a follow on from the Irish Heart Foundation and Operations Transform programmes RehabCare Quayside have started a Healthy Living Programme where all members are encouraged to be involved. The three main areas it covers are health checks, food, education and physical activities:
  • Health checks - everyone’s weight is recorded weekly. The local pharmacy did BMI, bloodpressure, weight and diabetes checks. 
  • Food – people are encouraged to eat a healthier diet i.e. more fruit, vegetables and water. There are a number of cookery programmes in the centre where people are being supported to cook healthier food and also encouraged to transfer the skills home and cook healthier food at home. For a number of weeks a group made healthy vegetable soup for lunch. 
  • Physical activity programmes were introduced in the centre. We had a Step Challenge to do 1 million steps over a 7 week period. We used pedometer to record the steps to reach this target. Programmes stopped 10 minutes early to do physical activities. Walking became a feature of the day. People were encouraged to use the gym and the swimming pool. Line dancing and music was introduced as another means of physical activity. We are implementing canoeing and archery. Education:- A student from the physical and fitness department in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) is facilitating a 7 week programme on health and diet. Using a power point presentation he is explaining about healthy foods, food pyramid and healthy quantities. 
  • People have had the health check and are aware that if their BMI is over 25 that they need to be active in reducing their BMI both through reduced food intake and exercise. 
  • Through the cookery programme training people to cook healthy and also making them aware of portion sizes. 
  • Gained a knowledge of healthy food, food pyramid and food quantities through the DKIT student. 
  • Increased interest in walking and physical activities. 
This is a new way of thinking as a result of the BMI checks, blood pressure checks and physical mobility. As a result of doing the Irish Heart Foundation project we realised that we had to be more proactive to educate our members and improve their health.

This programme can be implemented by other RehabCare Centres in Ireland. It is our aim to draw up a report for management and directors of RehabCare to highlight the need for a Healthy Living programme in all centres. The Health and physical condition of our members has become a priority within our centre. Cost: Cost is minimal as RehabCare staff are leading the programme. We also got a student from DKIT. 

Partners Dundalk Institute of Technology, Irish Heart Foundation,  
Staff and Resources  RehabCare Staff and DKIT student and local chemist  
Duration Ongoing
Budget BMI checks costs €5 per person  
Contact /more information  Rosaleen Phillips:  

More information at: