'Living Well with Chronic Illness' - Latrobe Community Consultation

Project Overview:

In 2019 the Central West Gippsland PCP undertook a community consultation across Latrobe Valley:

  • to find out about how people manage their health
  • focusing on common chronic illnesses including diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart failure and COPD.
  • to identify ways to improve health services.

The project was an externally funded action through the Latrobe Health Assembly and an initiative of the Latrobe Health Innovation Zone.

Central West Gippsland PCP recruited local community members to up-skill them as 'Peer Facilitators' to undertake the community consultations.

Project Launch:

The project was launched at a free public event held at the Latrobe Performing Arts Centre in Traralgon on the evening of on 2 April 2019:

  • ‘Health Plays’ were contracted to deliver their production ‘Six Degrees of Diabetes', a play delivering real messages about diabetes risks in men in a humorous and engaging way.
  • The event concluded with a Q&A session, with a panel and audience discussion about chronic illness.

Approximately 105 people attended the launch, including community members and a number of representatives from local health services.

Community Consultation Activities Undertaken:

Further community consultation and engagement activities were undertaken between 15 May and 15 October 2019 via:

  • Social media / print media / online.
  • Town based conversations in the four major Latrobe Valley towns (Churchill, Moe, Morwell and Traralgon).
  • Conversations at Pharmacies and GP Clinics within the Latrobe City LGA.
  • Conversations at community members’ locations of choice (e.g. in a café at a time that suited them).

An additional 302 community members were engaged in the project, either through a face-to-face conversation with a Peer Facilitator or completing a hard-copy or online survey.

Results:

From the 302 responses, 1,184 comments were analysed and themed. Common themes across all of the conditions fell into five broad categories:

  • Shortage of GPs and specialists / difficulty getting appointments / continuity of care.
  • Communication with and between GPs, specialists, other health professionals and services.
  • Access to, cost or availability of support / services / equipment / transport.
  • Need for more information and support / isolation and loneliness.
  • Need for more disability-friendly local infrastructure.

It is hoped that the findings and common themes identified through this project will provide a basis for local health services and providers to inform their discussions around future actions and priorities to improve the experience of people living with chronic conditions and help them ‘live well’.

Video - Stories from Community Members Living with Chronic Illess:

To support the findings in the final report, a video capturing community members’ stories of living with chronic illness was also produced.

For further information on the project, please call Central West Gippsland PCP on 5127 9156 or email: cwgpcp@gmail.com.