Revolutionising the way we manage chronic illness

Patient and carer voices were front and centre throughout the chronic care forum in Rooty Hill.

More than 100 chronic care patients and carers recently gathered to share their stories and set the agenda for transforming the way we manage chronic illness.

Pain management, GP team-based care, self-management and plans for end-of-life care were at the forefront of the Integrated Chronic Care Program forum held at West HQ in Rooty Hill.

Local GP Dr Michael Fasher said western Sydney is leading the country in transforming the healthcare system to the benefit of patients.

Aboriginal elder Uncle Danny Eastwood spoke about the healing power of art.

The program brings together patients, carers, family, GPs, care facilitators and the hospital to give people with chronic illness better access to health services, and ultimately empower them to best manage their own illness.

Carer Therese Fuller shared how the support of her care facilitator Daniel means she’s not alone in looking after her dad.

“When dad’s in the hospital Daniel is my one constant. I’ve got dad’s history on my phone and what’s wrong with dad but Daniel knows my story,” Therese said.

“Daniel tells me ‘this is what you need to do and this is who you need to ring’. The care facilitator has the links and the knowledge apart from the GP.”

The Integrated Chronic Care Program team and helpers.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Integrated and Community Health acting general manager Luke Felicetti said the fundamental idea behind the integrated care program is to make the health system less confusing and less complicated.

Other highlights of the forum included six patient story videos, a talk from Uncle Danny Eastwood about the importance of art and healing, and keynote addresses on topics including end of life planning, health literacy, pain management and where to find help including translated resources.

Integration & Enablers program lead Alicia Wood said Integrated and Community Health is planning another consumer forum next year to include self-management and wounds.

Attendees used iPads to answer questions including ‘what would improve your health in western Sydney’ and ‘what do health staff need to know about you when you are sick?’

“It’s all about listening and capturing what matters to the patient. We’re always committed to co-design in partnership with consumers to reflect their perspectives into models of care, resources and future rollout of services,” Alicia said.

For further information on the program, please call 1800 113 644 or email WSLHD-IntegratedChronicCareProgram@health.nsw.gov.au.