Home' Waitomo News : 16 February 2016 Contents 4 WAITOMO NEWS Tuesday, February 16, 2016
TWO student siblings studying health have
given back to the Kawhia community this summer
helping people with diabetes and pre-diabetes get
David and Erika Burton – both Kawhia born and
bred – saw it as a great opportunity to give back
to their local community and support their father
Dr John Burton, owner of Kawhia Medical Centre.
David, who is about to start his fourth year
studying medicine at Otago University, says his
dad needed additional support to help manage
those patients not taking all the steps that could
keep them well.
“The practice team is doing a great job working
with many diabetic and pre-diabetic patients, but
diabetes is a huge problem in Kawhia,” says David.
“Dad had a long list of pre-diabetic and diabetic
patients that needed encouragement, so each was
called to ask if they were interested in a free home
visit by us.
“We took free fit strips a large rubber band used
for exercise and set them up with a workout plan
in their own home, which we found very effective.
“Patients responded well, as they could do a
workout while watching TV and easily fit it into
“They are a lot more comfortable in their own
Erika, who is studying nursing at Massey Uni-
versity in Wellington, says they found using fit
strips to be particularly useful as they can be used
at all levels and be made harder or easier by doing
more repetitions or making the resistance greater.
KNOW HOW: Medical student David Burton demonstrates how to use a fit strip. “The kids
were a bit shy at first, but then they really got into it. They have been encouraging the patient
to do his exercises regularly,” he says. PHOTO SUPPLIED
Following in Dad’s footsteps
“We have some patients who are largely chair-
bound and they have been able to do a simple series
of exercises that we have shown them.
“Although we have been encouraging people to
do more walking, and giving a few patients exer-
cises without a fit strip, we have largely used the
strips in what we are doing.”
The siblings say the home visits helped break
down emotional barriers patients may have had
preventing them from becoming more active.
“One of the patients we saw was a woman who
could not leave the house because her mobility was
impaired,” says Erika.
“She appreciated the visit from a social point
of view and has been doing her exercises almost
every day since. She says her walking has improved
because of them.
“We took photos of patients doing the exercises
and used these in an education brochure we cre-
ated, making it more relevant to the community.
“This further motivated patients with the idea that
‘if they can do it, then I can too’,” she says.
David says he and his sister got an insight into
what patients’ lifestyles were like.
“There were some elderly and lonely patients
who enjoyed the companionship we provided.
Sometimes it felt like we were offering a mental
health service. We made return visits to many of
the patients to follow-up.”
Erika says: “A health provider can tell a patient
presenting at hospital to exercise, but it is not go-
ing to be effective if the patient is not
supported when they get back into the
“Having a closer relationship with
the patient can make all the differ-
“We got to know patients better,
even knowing their dog’s name was
a good conversation starter. They
opened up to us a lot more than what
would be possible in a typical 15 min-
The siblings say they are part
of a great, closeknit community in
“People look out for each other,”
“People would say ‘oh you are
John’s kids. We have known you since
you were this tall.”
“Dad is definitely the main driver
behind our campaign.
“He is always keen to try new ways
to improve the health of the local
l Kawhia Medical Centre is a
part of the Pinnacle general practice
Te Kumi Rd, Te Kuiti 3910, New Zealand
Phone: 07-878 8072
Opening Hours: 7 Days 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Prices valid until 21 February 2016. Trade not supplied. Deals valid until this Sunday or while stocks last. All prepared meals are serving suggestions
only. Props not included. We reserve the right to limit quantities. Available at New World stores in the Upper North Island (Turangi North). Excludes
Lower North Island and South Island.
Lamb Shoulder Chops
Limited to 6 assorted
Round Cheese Rolls
Limited to 12 assorted
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain 290g/
Coco Pops 290g/375g/
Sultana Bran 420g/
Special K Original
Limited to 6 assorted
Pams Muesli Bars/Bubble Bars 6s/
Fruit Novelty Shapes 8s
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