Joanne’s story

Find how getting involved in research helped Joanne avoid more surgery.

After a hip replacement, Joanne got involved in a research study that helped her lose weight and avoid knee surgery

Joanne Baumgartner is a mother, grandmother and a person with disabilities. She has also been a health care consumer representative for the last fifteen years. Joanne recently had both hips replaced two years apart. In 2017 after her first total hip replacement surgery, she received a letter from her health fund asking if she wanted to participate in a program to help minimize the need for another joint replacement or to help her maintain her health to ensure good rehabilitation and recovery if further surgery became necessary. The program, called “Healthy Weight for Life,” is run by Prima, an Australian allied healthcare and technology company that specialises in the nationwide remote delivery of multi-disciplinary weight and lifestyle related health management products and programs.

Joanne decided to sign up and has been recording her statistics, health data and completing online surveys over the last few years. Through this program she has also had access to support from various people through emails, SMS and phone contact.

She was asked to weigh herself and take a waist measurement on the same day each week and enter these details on her personal web page, which then generated graphs of her progress. She also completed surveys on pain levels in her knees and the types of activities that she was able to or unable to do. She also entered information from her regular blood tests and blood pressure measurements. The initial program ran in three stages replacing firstly two meals then one meal a day with shakes, then following set recipes for all her meals. She was provided with sachets of meal replacement shakes and soups as well as various books which included motivational material, recipes, and food plans as well as exercise bands and an exercise program with videos.

After completing the initial program Joanne was invited to take part in an evaluation study about the effects of the Healthy Weight for Life Long‐Term Maintenance Program, by the Prevention Research Collaboration – part of the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. The study was conducted remotely which was ideal for Joanne as she lives outside of Sydney and could do everything from home.

While she was involved in the program her weight fluctuated and she didn’t find it easy to stick to, but she did lose weight and has managed to avoid knee surgery so far, which was the program target. She thinks it’s important for people to know there are various forms of research, other than clinical trials, that can bring substantial personal benefits.

The Sydney father is now urging Australians to sign up to the Join Us register to help accelerate research into heart disease.

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