Home' International Nurses Day : Intenational Nurses Day Contents NAA H48
THE AGE Saturday, May 8, 2010
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Promoting good health
ABOVE: Carol Gaw
with an award for the
FAR LEFT: The
helps clients make
changes to improve
their heart health.
''A lot of people with COPD and asthma aren't
aware of what triggers their deteriorating health.
We can help them explore those triggers and find
ways of reducing their onset and severity.''
Chronic conditions can be complex
and many people are not aware
of their ''triggers'' or how to
identify early warning signs of
Nurses working in community health
centres are a valuable asset to those
who suffer from all kinds of chronic
conditions, because they can help
people identify their ''triggers'' and
show them how to avoid them. They
can also help clients understand their
illness/condition; how their medication
works; and educate them in effective
Carol Gaw is a member of the
primary care team at Corio Community
Health Centre which is part of Barwon
The centre runs a host of health
promoting programs and clinics for
people with various chronic illnesses.
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Group for
example, is a seven-week program for
people who have had a 'heart event',
surgery or are considered at high risk
of developing heart disease.
Ms Gaw says the group has had
great success in helping clients make
important lifestyle changes to improve
their heart health.
''We also educate them about their
medication and arm them with early
intervention strategies in the event of
an onset. With angina clients for
example, we help them recognize
when to take their medication or
when to call an ambulance.''
Ms Gaw also plays an integral role
in helping people with chronic
''In fact, we are in the process of
establishing an early intervention
service for people with Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),''
''A lot of people with COPD and
asthma aren't aware of what triggers
their deteriorating health. We can help
them explore those triggers and find
ways of reducing their onset and
''For example, in COPD, it is
important for clients to recognize the
early warning signs of an
infection. By getting onto
antibiotics early, they can
often stop the infection
worsening to the point
where they need to go to
Ms Gaw says the health
centre is also proactive in
supporting people who are
battling with nicotine
addiction, which can lead to
chronic health problems.
"In 2006, I was part of an
early intervention team for
chronic disease and one of
the things we did was pilot
a smoking cessation service.
''It has been a great
success and now in addition
to Corio, the service is run at
three other Barwon Health
centres --- Torquay-Anglesea,
Belmont and Newcomb with a fourth
ear-marked for Bannockburn.
''Clients are referred to the Smoking
Cessation Service by a health
professional or can refer themselves.
They receive a one-on-one assessment
and consultation in which they are
educated about the various options for
'nicotine replacement therapy' and
medications available to help them
''They are initially seen weekly until
they stop smoking and then given
fortnightly 'health coaching' for
another month or so.
''What clients like best about our
services and programs is that our staff
are non-judgemental. Our coaching is
positive and encouraging and we
involve the client in setting short,
smart goals that are easier for them to
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