During October the NCNS Closing the Gap team, together with Trudy, NCNS Aboriginal Community Coordinator and Dave, NCNS Aboriginal Community Worker ran a series of information workshops on 5 chronic diseases that affect life expectancy, for Aboriginal community members and their families who may have or are at risk of developing these chronic diseases.
Each workshop was designed for open and interactive discussions between community and facilitators and also allowed space for private one on one questions or concerns. Transport, morning tea and lunch was provided.
The first workshop led by Andrew Woodrup, Diabetes Educator at Nepean Hospital focused on Diabetes; what it is, treatment, exercise, diet control and allied services.
The 9 clients that attended the workshop mentioned that it was informative, useful and clear as well as finding Andrew extremely helpful. Through this workshop we were able to book 3 follow up appointments for clients to return to the Diabetes centre.
One client let us know that she was ‘on a very relaxed high for days after the session with Andrew and was very thankful.’
The next workshop was a Respiratory Education day presented by Shirley Brown, an Aboriginal Chronic Care Nurse from the CACC Nursing Team at Mt Druitt & Blacktown Community Health Centres.
8 community members were provided information on; Oxygen/Carbon Dioxide, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Emphysema, Asthma, Asthma Care plans, puffers, treatment and medication as well as smoking, exercise. Attendants were also able to get referrals to the CALM clinic at Nepean Hospital.
Besides providing information, the social aspect of this workshop was a highlight with one client expressing that she was so excited about getting dressed up and being able to socialise, others being referred to our programs such as Koori Cuppa Women’s Group and reuniting 2 friends that had not seen each other for 40 years! This made us so happy as we know that suffering from chronic disease can be especially isolating.
Our third workshop was a Cardiovascular Education Day with Susan Tewhaiti, registered nurse and Karen McNulty, Senior Aboriginal Health Worker from the Cardiac Rehabilitation unit at Mt Druitt Hospital who presented to 21 community members. We also had Mootang Tarami Van Screeners, Patricia Tetau, registered nurse and Donna Jury, Aboriginal Health Worker (NBMLHD) who provided screening, health checks and health information.
There was show and tell with Pacemakers, Defibrillator and stents as well as talking about heart conditions from the signs and symptoms of heart attacks to medications and health checks. We now have clients that are more likely to attend cardiac rehab.
The next week we held a Renal Education Day and were lucky to have 4 presenters, Mr Lindsay Hardy – ARDAC Study Manager Westmead, Ms Marianne Kerr – ARDAC Research Officer, Mrs Victoria Sinka – ARDAC Research Assistant, Mrs Noella Sheerin (SCHN) ARDAC Research Assistant.
We also had another visit from Patricia and Donna from the Mootang Tarimi Van who provided free renal assessments to 9 community members and 7 NCNS staff.
The presenters went through how the kidney functions, its importance, kidney transplants, the donor register, dialysis and smoking. Clients were then able to take their renal screening results to their GP for follow up.
The last workshop concentrated on Cancer, Alex Foster, a volunteer at the Nepean Cancer Care Information Centre gave a presentation to 17 community members about the different types of cancer including lung, prostate, skin, cervical and breast cancer as well as family history, exercise, the importance of screenings with your GP and support groups around the area.
Through this series of workshops, we are left with better-informed and supported community through new information, referrals, making connections with others who are dealing with the same health concerns and or/diseases. We would like to thank all of the presenters who gave their time and provided us with vital information as well as the community who came along to each workshop.
To find out more about the Closing the Gap team please contact 02 4706 0291 or firstname.lastname@example.org