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21 Barclay Street, Heywood, VIC, 3304

THE ACTIVE HEART OF COMMUNITY HEALTH

Anyone visiting Heywood Rural Health’s community health hub after not having seen if for some months is going to be surprised.

The revitalisation of the hub has been a major project for HRH, funded by a $680,000 state government grant.

Like the renovation for the Aged Care facility, it has not been without its challenges through the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent materials shortages.

But it has been finished.

There is now a general reception area for both the hub and aged care – previously these were separate – as well as a waiting room.

However, the showpiece is the ‘Moorayt’ room, a local indigenous word for ‘active’, the new multi-purpose room is located where the old courtyard used to be.

That courtyard was built when the hub was the old dementia wing, and the space has now been transformed into something that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Officially opened by former Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation CEO, Jason Kanoa in December during the HRH Annual General meeting, it has been put to lots of use.

HRH Community Health Manager, Jacki Barnett said that it included team meetings between various people who might be involved in a patient’s care –“a holistic model” – including those from the medical clinic, allied health, home care and district nursing.

“A lot of our community receives more than one service here and it enhances that for them”, Ms Barnett said.

“We’ve also got the physio using the space which is fantastic as they can offer a greater variety of programs to meet the need, want and choice of the client and we have plans to definitely expand that.”

“Really the primary objective of the space is to be able to provide the services that are required.”

“It’s not just about activity and exercises but an opportunity to educate the community on topics of interest”.

HRH support services Manager, Leigh Beddows described it as a “one-stop-shop” – the room has also been used for Coronavirus vaccination clinics and other programs.

Ms Barnett said the hub offered a “complement” of services from podiatry to physiotherapy, diabetes education, dietetics as well as home care packages.

“We’ve seen increased inquiries in our (home care) packages”, Ms Barnett said.

“It’s been a positive for the community to offer home care package service, so we can offer transport for someone on a package to help to take them to appointments in the wider region, which is a positive as there is no taxi service here in Heywood”.

Two GP’s – Dr Erin Gordon on Mondays and Tuesdays and Dr Gopi Patel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, consult at the clinic, while Dorevitch pathology has also begun providing a bulk-billed services on Wednesday and Friday mornings.

“We’re seeing a huge growth in requests for pathology services”, Ms Barnett said.

Eve Drew and Liz Estevez have commenced as qualified podiatrists – they require referrals from a GP, practice nurse or a HRH allied health professional already involved in a patients care.

Mental Health and wellbeing services continue to be provided through Leon Martin of the Royal Flying Doctors Service, “for anybody who might like to have a chat about how they’re travelling mentally”, Ms Barnett said.

Telehealth – on which there was a big focus during the pandemic lockdowns – had not been forgotten either, with dietitian Fiona Williams a major user.

“We can still do that service while they’re at home and we’re on site”, Ms Barnett said.

“They’re still able to receive that service while unwell. Telehealth will expand over the next few months through the GP clinic as well as our other services”.

Thank you to the Portland Observer for providing the photo of Jacki Barnett, Community Health Manager and Leigh Beddows, Services Support Manager.