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Staying healthy

It is important to stay as healthy as possible to feel better about yourself and to prevent further complications. This section deals with:

Food and nutrition

Eating healthy foods is an important part of staying healthy.

Dietitians can work out a healthy diet that takes into account any health issues you may have such as diabetes or swallowing problems.


If you need advice on the best type of exercise for you and ways of maintaining your fitness, you can contact a physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist. They can write a plan with you so that a support worker knows how to best work with you to get and stay fit.

If you struggle to maintain your fitness program or lose motivation, a psychologist can work with you to develop ways of overcoming some of these difficulties.


There may be many issues to solve around incontinence. If you use a wheelchair or sit or lie down much of the time, incontinence can make pressure care more complex. There are a lot of health professionals and therapists who can help with different types of bowel and bladder issues. You could talk to your doctor or call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 to talk to a continence nurse advisor to work out a way of finding the right solutions for you.

Pressure care

Preventing pressure areas and quickly treating pressure sores is important for people with limited mobility or little or no feeling in a body part and for anyone who stays lying or sitting in one position for a long time.

Areas to particularly watch out for are bony places like elbows, toes, heels, knees and ankles, hips and pelvis and sitting bones.

To help prevent a pressure area or sore the following things can help:

  • change position regularly
  • use pressure care equipment
  • keep the area clean and dry
  • eat a healthy diet

An occupational therapist can suggest equipment such as beds, mattresses, chairs and wheelchairs and can advise you on the best ways of using them. The OT can write a pressure care profile for you to use with support workers.

A podiatrist can advise you on caring for feet, toes, nails and skin. They may make orthotics for shoes to support and protect your feet. If you need particular foot or ankle support, they may refer you to an orthotist.

If you have a pressure sore then seek help quickly and your doctor and pressure care nurse will treat it. Pressure sores can develop and get worse quickly and healing can be painful and slow.

Preventing choking

If you have difficulty chewing and swallowing, a speech pathologist can advise on ways of preparing food to suit you and also write a mealtime support plan for use with support workers so they know how you prefer things to be done. Dietitians can work out a healthy diet that takes into account any health issues you may have such as diabetes.

Medication management

If at anytime you have questions about your medication, your doctor and pharmacist can advise you. If you find it difficult to open bottles or packets or to remember when to take your medication, occupational therapists or pharmacists can give you ideas.

Some psychologists have expertise in working with you to manage your medication on a regular basis. This might include developing strategies with you to overcome any barriers to taking medication such as side effects or other concerns.

Making decisions, dealing with feelings, relationships, grief and loss

Psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists can work with you to deal with these issues. If you have complex communication needs, they can write a support profile that you can use to tell people how you want to be supported.