Dr Noel McCaffrey, founder of ExWell Medical, has been named as one of the United Nations 2022 Healthy Ageing 50, a group of 50 individuals from around the world recognised as outstanding leaders with extraordinary achievements in the area of healthy ageing.
ExWell Medical is a not-for-profit social enterprise which was formed in 2019. Its mission is to transform the lives of people and families living with the burden of chronic illness by bringing its medically led, community-based clinical exercise service to everyone in Ireland (and beyond) who would benefit from it.
ExWell has partnered South East Technological University (SETU), at its Carlow campus in a project of PACC (Physical Activity for people with Chronic Conditions), an initiative funded by the 2020 Dormant Accounts Innovation Fund via Sport Ireland and operated under the stewardship of Carlow, Waterford and Westmeath Local Sports Partnerships.
ExWell offers medically led exercise programmes (with face to face and online options) to people with all forms of chronic illness. The rationale is that a large part of the disability, unwellness and social exclusion or loneliness that occurs with chronic illness is directly caused by deconditioning (lack of fitness) brought on by lack of physical activity. This can be substantially addressed through group exercise.
Chronic illness affects 40% of Ireland’s population and 85% of those aged over 65 years. It consumes 85% of Ireland’s entire health spend and is a growing problem with an ageing population. Exercise is a simple, inexpensive and impactful part of the solution.
The programme at SETU Carlow is steadily growing and is delivered by Liam Hughes, a clinical exercise specialist and supported by Dr Clare Lodge from the Dept of Science and Health. ExWell Carlow classes are on Tuesdays at 2pm and Thursdays at 11am at SETU.
Anne Twomey, a regular participant at ExWell in SETU Carlow commented “ExWell gave me the confidence to exercise at a pace and a place that I was comfortable with and with the knowledge that there were trainers there to help and motivate me at every step without being pushed or judgemental. The friendly and encouraging atmosphere along with the other participants helped each of us there to set realistic goals for ourselves. Being able to get back to exercise in a fun, safe and non-intimidating environment made it something I could look forward to instead of something that I feared. I highly recommend ExWell to anyone who needs a little help to get started and a place to feel safe, secure and not judged”.
On receiving news of his award, Dr McCaffrey said “This is a very big honour. It is a major validation of the work we do and a huge confidence boost for me, for the entire ExWell team, for our delivery partners in Carlow and for our participants who are always delighted when ExWell’s work gets acknowledged. We have had a roller coaster journey since 2019, including the chaos of the pandemic, and there are so many people to thank for helping us along the way.”
Dr McCaffrey’s professional passion is ExWell and he is committed to the mission of making the service available nationwide as soon as possible. He is also a consultant in Sports Medicine in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital where he runs a musculoskeletal injury clinic and is a Foundation Fellow of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine.
For further information about ExWell or to get involved at the classes at SETU Carlow: