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May 2019

Palliative Care team

At the end of your life, what matters most?

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This year’s National Palliative Care Week (19-20 May) involved the theme, ‘What Matters Most?’, which asked Australians to reflect on what would be most important to them if they became seriously unwell.

“Dying is a normal part of life so it is important for all Australians to have discussions about death and dying and they type of care they would want to receive if they could no longer speak for themselves,” says Cheryl Bush, executive Manager of Clinical and Nursing Services at Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH).

“By having a conversation with loved ones and health professionals, people can ensure their treatment and care best aligns with their values and preferences regarding both the type and place of care and place of death,” Ms Bush adds.

GLCH has a team of compassionate staff who provide specialist health care and practical support to people who have advanced disease or a life-limiting illness. The GLCH Palliative Care team includes the Home Based Nursing team who have specific qualification or expertise in palliative care providing care as needed 7 days per week, along with a Nurse Practitioner and Psychosocial Support Worker who work collaboratively toward supporting local GPs and community based nursing services across East Gippsland in the provision of palliative care.

GLCH offers an Advance Care Planning service where people can plan ahead for their future health and personal care needs, in the event they become unable to make decisions themselves. A registered nurse, who is trained in Advance Care Planning is available by appointment to talk to you and your family members at home or in your office. The nurse will provide information, resources and guidance to help you create your individualised plan.

Nursing staff can also deliver an introductory session called “Making The Last Chapter Reflect The Whole Book”, which is ideal for small community groups who are interested in planning for their future.

To find out more about palliative care and end-of-life services, contact the nursing team at GLCH on 5155 8300.

Palliative Care team

Pictured (L-R) – Gippsland Lakes Community Health’s Palliative Care team: Selena Van Overdyk, Sarah Patterson, Luke Williams NP, Amanda Crombie, Michael Flynn and Barbara Phillips


We’re celebrating IDAHOBIT Day!

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In Australia, a national sexual health and wellbeing study by Hillier et al (2010) found that 75% of LGBTIQ youth experience some form of discrimination, 61% experience verbal abuse, 19% have been physically bullied, 24% of lesbian, gay, bisexual people experience depression, and 36% of trans Australians experience depression.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is held annually on 17 May. This internationally recognised day aims to increase awareness of the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTIQ people internationally.

The date of May 17 was specifically chosen as it is the anniversary of the date that the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder some ten years ago. Impressively, this date has since been established as the single most important date for LGBTIQ communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale; in fact, today, IDAHOBIT is celebrated in more than 130 countries including many where same-sex acts are illegal.

This year, the IDAHOBIT theme is “Justice and Protection for All” which is in recognition of those many places around the world where LGBTIQ people and people with diverse gender identities or expressions continue to experience social violence and injustice.

Local health services and support provider Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH), is proud to recognise IDAHOBIT every year but this year the organisation has decided to extend the event to become week-long, with activities and information about diversity and inclusion being on display to staff, clients and visitors across its five locations in Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Metung, Bruthen and Nowa Nowa. Additionally, at their Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance sites GLCH will also raise the rainbow flag throughout the week.

GLCH’s Chief Executive Officer Sue Medson OAM says, “IDAHOBIT is a very important day for GLCH to acknowledge. Having been operating throughout East Gippsland since 1975, our organisation is proud to provide safe and inclusive practices for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. And with more than 400 employees across our locations, we are also proud to be an inclusive employer.”

GLCH is currently working towards the Rainbow Tick, which is a nationally-recognised accreditation program for organisations that are committed to safe and inclusive practice, and service delivery for LGBTI people,” adds Ms Medson. “If you have any feedback or input as to how the organisation can further increase its diversity and inclusion, we invite you to contact us with your ideas and suggestions.”

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We LOVE our nurses!

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To celebrate 2019 International Nurses Day Gippsland, Lakes Community Health (GLCH) shone the spotlight on the tireless efforts of nurses.

“International Nurses Day is held every year on May 12th, which is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The event provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge the incredible contribution made by our dedicated nurses, who help ensure better health outcomes for our community members,” says Cheryl Bush, Executive Manager of Clinical and Nursing Services at GLCH.

“The nurses at GLCH are professionals with a wealth of skills and knowledge who, collectively, deliver a broad range of expertise,” adds Ms Bush. “They work in all areas of healthcare with a diverse range of clients, in very rewarding although sometimes challenging circumstances, so it’s important to acknowledge and give thanks for the work they do.”

GLCH currently employs around 30 nursing staff, who deliver services from its five community health centres, as well as out in the community and in people’s homes. Many of the nurses have completed post graduate studies or specialised training to enable them to provide advanced nursing services, such as advance care planning, respiratory services, diabetes services, palliative care, dementia, immunisation, lymphoedema, maternal and child health, palliative care, drug and alcohol, assessment and triage, school nurse, women’s health, and wound care.

“Nurses in the community are typically not very good at promoting what they do, which is why the impact of their efforts tend to go unacknowledged; even though they often make a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families” explains Ms Bush. “We encourage everyone in the community to give thanks to a nurse who has taken care of you or a member of your family and let him or her know how much you appreciate their support and expertise.”

GLCH provide nursing services from locations in Lakes Entrance, Bairnsdale, Bruthen, Metung and Nowa Nowa, with some services extending throughout East Gippsland. To find out more contact GLCH.

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Pictured: Some of the GLCH nursing team: Juana Ford, Zenaida Pendergast, Else Philbey, Peta Bassett, Kathy Dear, Selena van Overdyk, Barbara Phillips, Janie Dent, Amanda Crombie, Fiona Veith, Cheryl Bush (Executive Director of Clinical and Nursing), Julian Goss