Vital connections to community in changing and challenging times.
During the COVID-19 response we demonstrated the unique and important role we, as a community health service, play in the health system.
Our unique role in the health system has never been more relevant or evident.
By providing equitable access to health and wellbeing programs and services, we actively play a significant part in creating a fair and responsible health system.
Our programs and services operate at all levels so we can support an individual's needs during their life journey, whether that be prevention, primary care, community care or specialist acute programs.
Integrated Diabetes Education and Assessment Service (IDEAS) - helps people prevent and manage the complications that come with having Type 2 Diabetes. Provided by a specialist medical, nursing and allied health team, IDEAS provides practical education and support to empower participants in managing their long-term health and wellbeing.
CLEAR is a free and confidential service for people living with Hepatitis C. Provided by a specialist medical and nursing team the clinic provides an assessment, treatment plan and access to curative medication, to support health needs.
A community health general dental service caring for vulnerable and disadvantaged people, in conjunction with a private clinic offering affordable and quality dental care to the wider community.
All our allied health services help people in our community maintain or enhance independence, safety, relationships and community engagement.
Services include: Community Nursing, Dietetics, Exercise Physiology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Speech Pathology
The After Hours GP Clinic provides access to a General Practitioner outside of regular clinic hours, with a partnership approach to a person’s regular GP for continuity of care.
Our partnering with the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network ensures people receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
Our team includes a Paediatrician, Paediatric Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Dieticians, Psychologist, Neuropsychologist and Family Support Worker who believe that every child deserves a chance to reach their potential and discover their abilities. The integrated service works with children from infancy through to adolescence, along with their families and/or carers to improve their health, wellbeing, growth and development.
In Home Support provides support services to help people with disability achieve their goals and remain living at home independently.
Social Support Groups day programs encourage connections, belonging and support for participants with a disability and their carers, also providing respite.
Support Coordination helps people access services, resolving points of crisis and develop an effective support network.
Counselling services are available to anyone experiencing emotional difficulties which are impacting their day-to-day life.
The Stepped Care model focuses on linking people in with the right level of support using a ‘wrap-around’ approach.
The Reconnect Program is a community based early intervention and prevention program for young people aged 12 to 18 years who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and their families.
The Whitehorse Men’s Shed provides opportunities for men to come together to socialise and work on projects in a supportive workshop environment.
In Home Support providescaring support services such as cleaning, meal preparation, showering andgardening to help older people to remain living at home independently forlonger.
Social Support Groups encourage connections, belonging and support for participants and carers.
Falls Prevention helps to identify contributing factors and institute change to reduce the likely hood and/or the severity of injuries.
Respite and Carer Support provides respite, information and support to people caring for older people or people living with a disability.
Home Care Packages Care Management coordinates services that assist older people to remain at home for as long as possible within a competitive commercial environment.
Both the after hours Community Health Outreach Program Eastern Region (CHOPER) operating 7.30-11pm, 7 days and the Needle Syringe Program provide safe access and disposal of syringes to reduce harm and minimise health risks associated with injecting.
Education and information sessions raising awareness of mental health, in particular to community groups, families, youth and older people, often in partnership with schools and local governments.
Baby Makes 3 is a parenting program for individuals that drives social change and builds gender equality at a systemic level.
Our friendly oral health team provides screening of children for early intervention needs, at local kindergartens, childcare centres and schools. This empowers children with the knowledge and motivation to care for their oral health.
With the onset of COVID-19 and the health and safety of our clients, staff and community in mind, we conducted a full risk assessment and immediately revised our service delivery plan.
Changes included use of telehealth as the preferred method of service delivery, limiting onsite in-person appointments and screening clients.
Telehealth is the use of phone or video calls to provide service and was previously a secondary option to in-person appointments. For many clients it has provided convenience, flexibility and comfort.
Given the level of risk to certain client groups or the inability to deliver service safely, unfortunately some services had to be temporarily suspended.
Our dedicated teams continued to support clients of suspended services and their families, with wellbeing checks and as much regular contact as possible.
One example of this ongoing care is our resourceful Social Support Group team who arranged for our resident chef to bake her famous cookies for our team to do a special “cookie run” straight into our participants' letter boxes.
This simple act gave some incredibly isolated people social connection in a very difficult time, with one client saying, "it makes me realise that we are looked after and supported regardless."
From the onset of the COVID-19 situation, our In Home Care clients were identified immediately as high risk and high priority. Crisis meetings involving all levels within the organisation were called, to make sure these vulnerable clients continued to receive home-based essential services and assure them they would be delivered safely.
Our team work tirelessly to communicate with each individual, ensuring them not only of their ongoing care but of their safety, with all guidelines being followed and precautions being taken.
With many families and carers feeling the pressure of home-schooling and lack of respite during COVID-19 restrictions, we moved swiftly to deliver our Family Support education sessions as live webinars and the Carers Group moved online also.
Recognising staying active during restrictions was important for overall health, our gym based groups were also moved to an online format, with many instructional videos made available for participants.
With increasing case numbers in Melbourne in June 2020, there was a request from the Department of Health and Human Services for health professionals to join the response. Many people from across the organisation were seconded to work in the public housing towers, including General Manager of Mental Health, AOD and Youth, Olive Aumann.
Other initiatives to actively support the state wide response included joining other Community Health Services in the North Eastern and Eastern Primary Health Network to amplify the Get Tested public relations campaign and deliver health and wellbeing services for people who have tested positive.
We were also involved in a rapid response task with Eastern Health, when our site at Wellington Road, Box Hill was transformed into a temporary testing site for a large school who had a positive case. The site was established within 24 hours and we thank the tireless work of those involved, exemplifying the values of community health working towards the greater good.
The vision that people in our communities enjoy better and longer lives ignites our
The work we do to improve the lives of many people in many ways can be seen in these inspiring stories of independence, development, achievement and empowerment.
“My stroke took everything from me, but it didn’t take away my determination”.
Elaine’s physical limitations coupled with her communication difficulties, including foreign accent syndrome, meant she had a long road ahead if she wanted to regain her sense of self again. She worked tirelessly on her rehabilitation and achieved what was thought to be impossible.
The Baby Makes 3 program promotes gender equity and was expanded to new settings and communities, reaching more diverse participants in metropolitan, regional and rural Victoria and interstate with:
Baby Makes 3 was the feature initiative in the Victorian Government’s Free from Violence: Victoria’s Strategy to Prevent Family Violence and all forms of Violence Against Women Annual Report 2018/19. Read more
All Staff were brought together in the afternoon of 15 October 2019 to reconnect and celebrate the difference our programs and services make to people's lives every day.
After being divided into six groups with fun party props, each group was given an insightful and engaging presentation about In Home and Community Support, Social Support Groups, IDEAS, Stepped Model for Mental Health Care, Baby Makes 3, School Dental Vans and Gender Equity. It was all about demonstrating the work our staff, people with passion, do.
The difference we make to people's lives was captured by a cartoonist who created some fantastic the artwork on the day!
In honour of Rosemary Aitken, a founding member of our community health service who served as a volunteer on the Board of Directors for 42 years, we officially named our building at 917 Main Road Eltham the Rosemary Aitken Building.
At a celebration event held on 27 November, a plaque was unveiled by former Federal Member of Parliament, Jenny Macklin, who had a long working relationship with Rosemary.
“I’ve always been impressed by her unconditional commitment, leadership and vision to ensure people in Nillumbik, especially those more vulnerable, have access to health and welfare services,” says Jenny.
Rosemary served on the Advisory Board and Board of Management since its inception, having commenced her volunteer role as Secretary of the organisation, and being appointed President of the Board in 1988, a position which she remained in for 16 years until 2004. Rosemary continued her voluntary service until June 2018.
We provide valuable services in a dynamic sector.
We’ve adapted how we work this year and significantly changed how we deliver our services. We are confident that we will adopt the best of these changes, and others still emerging, and that they will become permanent features of how we support our communities into the future to enjoy better and longer lives.