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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’.

Comments(02)

  1. Amanda Bamford
    18 March 2021

    Shortage of GPs and specialists / difficulty getting appointments / continuity of care – we need to find a way to engage our specialists and GPs in LV to keep them here. Many of the hospital doctors are still commuting. When I asked our local GP who was leaving the practice what would it take to keep him here, he said engagement in the community for his family. His family didn’t have connections with LV and so we lost him to Melbourne. How do we start to get around this. I work at the hospital and its frustrating to lose excellent workers because their family are struggling to get a foothold (contact) in Latrobe Valley to integrate. The families are not going to make the first move, we will have to.

    Reply
    • admin
      19 March 2021

      Good morning Amanda, thank you for your comment and yes, we couldn’t agree more. I think you have “hit the nail on the head” with the community connections comment in regards to GP’s. We hear this quite a bit. I can assure you that several local organisations are investigating possibilities around this topic however I wonder if you might be interested in having a chat with us about some of your points and possible ideas? I will send you an email via the one you entered with this comment.

      Thank you again for sharing your insights.

      Reply

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