Clinics aim for wellbeing and connection

February 24, 2024 BY

On the road: Ballarat Community Health’s Community Connections and Wellbeing project coordinator Janine Hourigan and manager of healthy communities Louise Feery with the mobile health van. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

A PROJECT led by Ballarat Community health is aiming to help multicultural people, and those over the age of sixty-five, stay healthy no matter where they are in the Grampians region.

The Community Connections and Wellbeing initiative has a focus on COVID-19 prevention, including the provision of vaccines, and boosting social connections, across Ballarat, and the Hepburn, Pyrenees, Ararat, northern Grampians, and Horsham areas.

“We know that people over 65 and in multicultural communities are more at-risk if they do get COVID,” said BCH manager healthy communities, Louise Feery.

“For whatever reasons, they quite often do not follow up on some of the early warning signs of more serious health issues such as diabetes, heart and lung health, mental health, and cancer screening.

“People also aren’t that keen to come to an event or talk about COVID as much as they were, so we’re coming to them, and trying to get them back to socialising and feeling safe in the community.”

Over the coming months, BCH staff will be travelling the region in their mobile healthcare van, to deliver vaccinations, check-ups, and information.

There have already been some successful pop-up clinics held in towns including St Arnaud.

“We had 45 people come and talk to us, we gave 25 heath checks, and went back a week later to give 45 COVID-19 vaccinations,” said immunisation nurse and project coordinator, Janine Hourigan.

“It was really busy with two nurses and admin staff, but it was really positive, friendly and social.

“A lot of older people like to talk and tell you about their life. They find that one-on-one listening to be really good.”

An easy-to-navigate Community Connections and Wellbeing webpage has also been created to increase grassroots access to trustworthy health and wellbeing information, and self-assessment advice.

The page also has a directory of social community organisations including support groups, men’s sheds, and senior citizens’ clubs.

BCH has partnered with Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council, Budja Budja Aboriginal Co-operative, Grampians Community Health, Grampians Public Health Unit, and WRISC to deliver the project which has been funded by the State’s Department of Health.

“Community health is all about partnerships and collaboration to effectively reach the broader community and make health access easy and affordable for everyone,” Ms Feery said.

Visit ccawp.org.au for more information, including a calendar of regional Community Connections and Wellbeing events.

“We encourage people to speak to their doctor to see if they’re eligible for the latest COVID-19 booster vaccine, and if you are, come along and get one,” Ms Feery said.