Lake South man Patrick Ireland puts his incredible 30-kilogram weight loss down to his phone.
The 77-year-old, with chronic health problems, said his health coach on the other end of the line not only helped him stay trim, but kept him out of hospital.
"Last year I was in and out of hospital throughout winter, but I haven't been once in a year," Mr Ireland, who has an ongoing respiratory illness, said yesterday.
"I've managed to lose 30 kilograms and I gave up smoking in January.
"My lung infection has also improved. The telephone program has helped me stay on course."
Mr Ireland is one of 700 people in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District taking advantage of the free Connecting Care Telephone Support Service.
It focuses on people with diabetes, heart conditions, respiratory illnesses and high blood pressure who are at risk of future hospitalisation or have deteriorating health.
Health district spokeswoman Franca Facci said it was the first time telephone health support had been offered in the NSW public health system.
"Registered nurses call people in their homes and coach or help them better understand their illness, improve knowledge of medications, develop ways of making sure they follow their doctor's instructions and generally help people improve their health," she said.
The service is confidential, and tailored to meet the needs of each person registered, and usually continues for about six months.
For Mr Ireland, it has been life changing.
"I can talk to them any time, one-on-one and get the support and information I need," he said.
"I'd be at the doctor's and up at the hospital a whole lot more if they weren't there."