Industry fund pilots cancer wellness program

A $50 billion industry superannuation fund  is piloting a program launched by AIA Australia that helps members affected by cancer transition back to health.

AIA Australia's RESTORE CaRe Positivum program is currently being trialled by 100 REST Industry Super members, focusing on identifying solutions to barriers that prevent returning to wellness and work.

It uses national occupational rehabilitation services provider IPAR's wellness coaching model developed in conjunction with Monash University and Cancer Council NSW. The stepped care program builds on global reinsurer Swiss Re's experience in delivering rehabilitation services in the UK.

AIA Australia and New Zealand chief executive Damien Mu said: "Our partners and their members have told us that it is often a big adjustment transitioning from the active stage of cancer treatment back into a normal routine. When medical support suddenly ceases, the person recovering from cancer often struggles to return to a normal life."

He added many are left with fatigue, "chemo fog", deconditioning, and sometimes depression and anxiety.

"We provide strategies and expert advice to minimise these symptoms and to support these members back to wellness and eventually to work," Mu said.

In a separate recovery study AIA Australia conducted in 2014, 84% of participants reported improved wellness, while 86% saw an improvement in symptom management. Fifty per cent who took part in the three-month trial were able to recover and return to work.

Mu said he is confident the RESTORE CaRe Positivum research will be equally successful as it addresses the holistic needs of cancer patients for their wellness and work readiness.

"The collective commitment by AIA, REST, Swiss Re and IPAR to help cancer patients beyond medical treatment highlights the increasing importance of tackling mental health and wellbeing issues in our community," he said.

Swiss Re managing director of Australia and New Zealand Mark Senkevics said: "Swiss Re is proud to be one of the partner organisations driving an industry-leading initiative, which provides assistance to customers with cancer to rebuild resilience and to help access the important health benefits associated with returning to 'good' work."

Read more: AIA AustraliaSwiss ReIPARMark SenkevicsREST Industry SuperCancer Council NSWDamien MuMonash University
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