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Health services taking action on chronic disease

Insiders involved in a Take Action Nurse program have spoken about how the service had made a difference in the lives of people living with chronic disease in the region.

They have also detailed how the program saved a life.

Grampians Community Health and Stawell Regional Health run the service for people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, musculoskeletal problems and cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases.

WestVic Primary Health Network funds the program with the intention of putting people in control of their illness and avoiding preventable hospital admissions.

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Grampians Community Health general manager Kathy Day said almost 100 people joined the 2018-19 program, which equated to about 500 sessions involving practical information and follow-up sessions with Take Action Nurse’s Sue Fontana.

“The program provides such a great opportunity for people to learn how to take action about their health,” Ms Day said.

She said Ms Fontana had recently received a ‘wonderful’ phone call from a man, ‘Kevin’, she had seen as part of the program.

She said Kevin had said during the call, “Just letting you know I am at the Royal Melbourne Hospital waiting on open-heart surgery. If I make it through you will have saved my life. And if I don’t make it you gave me a chance. I don’t know what to say to you but thanks, and that doesn’t seem enough – God bless and hope to see you in the near future.”

Ms Fontana asked Kevin during his visit if he had any other questions and he mentioned he had pain in his jaw and down his arms and tightness across his chest on a few occasions that week. 

“I immediately accompanied him to see a GP and he was referred directly to the hospital for follow up,” she said.

Ms Fontana said the man called her again and he was overwhelmed with gratitude.

“He said that by all the reports he would not have lived until his next GP appointment in September after tests indicated he had a 90 percent heart blockage and needed immediate surgery,” she said. 

In control

Stawell Regional Health primary and community care director Rhys Duncan said the program continued to provide real outcomes for the community.

“Living with a chronic illness is often daunting, so we are really pleased that this partnership is providing people with support that builds their capacity to be in control of their lives,” he said.  

“We have seen that after a few sessions, many clients feel confident and are able to manage their conditions on their own, knowing Stawell Regional Health and Grampians Community Health are there to fall back on if they need it.”

People keen to know more about the Take Action Nurse program can call Grampians Community Health on 5358 7400 or discuss services available to them with their GP. 

The entire October 30, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire October 30, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!