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Creative Community Consultation Workshops in Chronic Illness

This project was initiated by the Latrobe Health Assembly in response to recommendations from the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for residents of the Latrobe Valley.

The aims were to conduct community consultation and engagement with people living with a chronic illness in the Latrobe Valley to:

  • Understand their current service knowledge / usage / barriers, and
  • Identify ways in which service providers can improve their services to enhance quality of life of people living with a chronic illness.

After consultations with local health professionals, DHHS, Latrobe Health Assembly and the Latrobe Health Advocate, the following five conditions were selected for inclusion in the project:

  • Arthritis,
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),
  • Diabetes,
  • Heart Failure,
  • Osteoporosis.

Consultation and engagement activities were undertaken between 15 May and 15 October 2019, with a focus on the towns of Moe, Morwell, Churchill and Traralgon. A total of 302 community members were engaged in the project, either through a face-to-face conversation with a Peer Facilitator or completing a hard-copy or online survey.

From the 302 responses, 1,184 comments were analysed and themed. Common themes across all of the conditions fell into five broad categories:

  • Shortage of GPs and specialists / difficulty getting appointments / continuity of care.
  • Communication with and between GPs, specialists, other health professionals and services.
  • Access to, cost or availability of support / services / equipment / transport.
  • Need for more information and support / isolation and loneliness.
  • Need for more disability-friendly local infrastructure.

It is hoped that the findings and common themes identified through this project will provide a basis for local health services and providers to inform their discussions around future actions and priorities to improve the experience of people living with chronic conditions and help them ‘live well’.

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