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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation, CheckUP acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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CheckUP works with partner organisations and health providers to create healthier communities and reduce health inequities through a range of initiatives.

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Read the latest news and publications from CheckUP.

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#GoHealth Careers Expo

CheckUP hosted the inaugural #GoHealth Careers Expo at the Brisbane Royal International Convention Centre, with over 50 exhibitors and over 90 schools, the expo was a hive of activity with live demonstrations, mock health facilities, and information booths offering insights into school based traineeships and work experience opportunities.

Over 2000 students interested in a career in health made their way through the Exhibition, making industry connections and gaining insight into the health career pathways available to them. From registered training organisations to private hospitals, exhibitors covered the diverse career opportunities within the health sector. Some of the exhibitors included Heart of Australia with their Heart Truck, Queensland Ambulance Service, The Royal Flying Doctors Service and local universities from Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

As well as the exhibitor stalls there were also insightful presentations held throughout the day on the main stage. Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Company opened the event with a special Welcome to Country, students also heard from doctor, lawyer and disability advocate Dinesh Palipana OAM, Shaz Gerchow from Jobs Queensland, Mater education and Deaf Connect who facilitated interactive Auslan activities throughout the day.

Gateway to Industry Schools Program – Health

The Health Gateway Project links schools with industry partners to introduce students to the many career pathways and job options available to them within the health industry. It helps facilitate learning opportunities and experiences for both students and teaching staff.

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Students excel in aged care roles

As a part of CheckUP’s Youth Industry Partnerships for Education and Employment (YIPEE) program, seven students from Heatley Collage completed work experience at St. Vincent’s Aged Care in Douglas, Townsville.

After completing their work experience, the students were extended offers of employment at the facility.

St. Vincent’s Aged Care arranged a celebratory event to introduce the students to their forthcoming roles and the residents they will be assisting. The students engaged with the residents, fostering a sense of community and inclusion, for both the students in their upcoming roles and the residents they will be assisting.

It is great to be able to collaborate with organisations like St. Vincent’s Aged Care Douglas, who are committed to providing a culturally safe and supportive environment for students.

Working together with the YIPEE program, CheckUP and Heatley Secondary Collage teams is an excellent initiative that promotes diversity, inclusion, and opportunities for Indigenous youth. It not only provides students with valuable skills and exposure to different career paths but also fosters understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture and perspectives in the workplace. We now look forward to the future and how we can offer meaningful and sustainable employment to make a positive difference to the students’ lives and improve outcomes for our residents.

Wayne Delamont
Human Resources & Indigenous Program Specialist
St Vincent’s Care & Private Hospitals QLD

Youth Industry Partnerships for Education and Employment

The Youth Industry Partnerships for Education and Employment project (YIPEE) aims to foster effective school-to-work transitions for schools with a significant proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Far North Queensland, through the implementation of partnerships and support provided by a School to Industry Transition Officer.

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Meet our team: Philippa Hawke

CheckUp’s Evaluation lead Philippa Hawke joined the team over 2 years ago. Dedicated to enhancing patient-centred care, Philippa develops tools and strategies for collecting robust patient feedback, like the recently developed cultural safety tool. Documenting the level of cultural safety experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, the tool encourages the creation of culturally appropriate delivery models.

Below Philippa shares more about herself and the vital role she plays in the CheckUP team.

Tell us a bit about what exciting projects you are currently working on?

Developing new tools and strategies to collect more patient feedback which increases the health system’s capacity to deliver patient-centred health care. We recently developed a tool to measure the cultural safety experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients receiving eye and ear surgery in remote locations. We were able to give this feedback directly to their service providers and support them to make service improvements.

How long have you worked in the health sector?

I’ve spent pretty much my whole career working in health, starting as a social worker in government community mental health, moving into health and community service management roles and ending up in counselling and child and family program evaluation.

My job prior to coming to CheckUP two and a half years ago was as Senior Researcher with a national not for profit organisation developing innovative ways to measure program effectiveness.

What does a typical day look like for you?

No two days are the same – one day I could be working on developing a new survey tool, the next flying to a remote QLD location to meet and yarn with patients receiving health services funded by CheckUP’s Outreach programs.

And then the day after that I could be presenting at a national health service conference, spreading the word about the value in asking patients for feedback and acting on their recommendations for service quality improvements.

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

Every part of it! I love having the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes we have here in Queensland. And I get to meet not only the patients who generously give their time to service improvement activities, but also the service providers who are so open to hearing patient feedback and do everything they can to implement the recommendations.

What is one of your favourite aspects about working at CheckUP?

Working in non-urban and outreach health service delivery regions has really opened my eyes to the incredible emotional intelligence, commitment and outside-the-box thinking required of anyone trying to improve rural and remote populations’ equitable access to health services.

What are you currently listening to at the moment?

Audiobooks and lots of them! They’ve replaced music in my car for the past year, and that says a lot!

Collaborative support improves paediatric ENT care for children in Cairns

In Cairns, a successful initiative has been changing the landscape of paediatric ear surgery since 2018. CheckUP’s Eye and Ear Surgical Support (EESS) program, in partnership with the Coral Sea Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) team, has introduced a privately funded ear surgery pathway for eligible children in the region, ensuring timely and comprehensive care for those in need.

Through the EESS program, eligible children aged 0-6 years who have attended the Aboriginal Corporation Primary Health Care Service in Mulungu or Hearing Australia’s Hearing Assessment Program – Early Ears (HAPEE) program, receive direct referrals to Dr. Suki Ahluwalia at Coral Sea ENT plus continued support throughout their surgical journeys.

The collaborative effort between the original referring Aboriginal Medical Service, Coral Sea ENT and Ramsay Surgical Centre has been instrumental in bridging gaps, providing culturally responsive support and enhancing patient outcomes.

Julie Bogner, a Clinical Nurse at Mulungu, reflects on the positive impact of this program, noting how families have benefited from timely and supported care, dispelling old misconceptions about ear health:

“Ten years ago a parent/grandparent said to me “that’s just the way it is”, about discharging ears. We now see that understanding has changed and one of the reasons is because more families have experienced the benefits of accessing timely and supported ENT specialist care.”

­Julie Bogner, Mulungu Clinical Nurse

A successful outcome for a young patient

A recent success for the team was being able to assist a young patient with a history of reoccurring Otitis Media. Both the Ramsay Hospital and the Coral Sea ENT team advised CheckUP that a 9-month old patient had missed two scheduled surgery dates, and they had been unable to contact the patient’s carer due to an unrecorded house move. Thanks to the swift action and coordination between CheckUP’s EESS manager, Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Primary Health Care Service and Mamu Health Service, they were able to make contact with the patient’s mother and provide further patient support for their next appointment. The patient expressed difficulty with arranging transport to their appointment but together Mamu and Coral Sea ENT were able to offer travel support for the patient. As a result, the child was able to attend the rescheduled appointment and received successful bilateral grommet surgery at the Ramsay Surgical Centre in Cairns.

This story highlights the importance of effective communication between teams and support structures in patient care. As we look towards the future, the commitment to provide collaborative support in Cairns continues to pave the way for improved healthcare outcomes, ensuring that every eligible child receives the care they deserve.

“It’s been really rewarding to work closely with the other teams and support improved outcomes for paediatric patients. Early intervention for children and timely referrals for surgery can help prevent future hearing loss and speech and language delays which both play a crucial role in overall child development.”

Jacqui Hawgood, CheckUP Surgical Support Manger

Learn more about the EESS program

The Eye and Ear Surgical Support (EESS) program aims to reduce the instances of avoidable vision and hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, through ensuring timely access to eye and ear surgical care, by strengthening patient pathways and support. Visit our EESS webpage to find out more.

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The Skin Cancer Early Detection Patient Reported Measure

The Skin Cancer Early Detection (SCED) pilot outreach service aims to create fairer access in rural, regional and remote Queensland locations to professional assessment and treatment of skin cancer for people who have a skin cancer risk. Services provided include:

Skin cancer risk assessments

Clinical skin assessments (i.e. dermoscopy)

Treatment of skin cancers (i.e. cryotherapy, biopsy and excision)

Patient education on individual skin cancer risk and prevention

Meeting patient needs

As part of CheckUP’s commitment to ensuring services meet patient needs in appropriate ways, a new patient feedback survey has been developed in collaboration with the project’s Steering Committee and Advisory Committee. Survey questions are tailored to measure the achievement of project objectives to prevent, early detect and treat skin cancers and to facilitate linkages and referral pathways for those patients found to have skin cancers.

In addition to measuring satisfaction with their treatment processes and their experience overall, the post-appointment survey also measures patients’ short-term outcomes including:

Awareness of and knowledge about skin cancer risks and protective factors

Intention to engage in self-protective behaviours and referral follow-up appointments

Intention to encourage family and friends to engage in early detection and prevention activities

In addition, the survey gathers information from patients about existing barriers and alternative access options if SCED was not available to them.

Results from completed surveys will be analysed by CheckUP evaluators and non-identifying reports with accompanying recommendations returned to relevant service providers to support their quality improvement efforts.

Stay tuned to hear what patients have to say about this important and life-saving program over the next few years!

Interested in patient centred program evaluation methods?

CheckUP welcomes your expressions of interest in patient-centred program evaluations. If you would like to discuss exploring innovative methods to collect patient feedback specific to your needs, please contact CheckUP Lead Evaluator Philippa Hawke.

Alternatively, read more about CheckUP’s in-house evaluation program via the link below.

Find out more

How evaluation shaped process – learnings from CheckUP’s EESS Program Manager

Jacqui Hawgood CheckUP’s, Surgical Support Manager for the Eye and Ear Surgical Support (EESS) program, discusses how program evaluation has not only shaped the coordination process of the program but has also benefitted the specialists, hospitals and Aboriginal health services involved in delivering care.

 

Incorporating feedback into the coordination process

 

The Eye and Ear Surgical Support program, over the past few years, has benefitted immensely from the collection of patient reported experiences of the surgical journey.

The collection of feedback and reviewing and implementing of recommendations where possible, has helped facilitate quality improvement throughout the patient’s surgical journey, improving attendance, overall support throughout the pathway, and ultimately clinical outcomes.

Promoting a truly culturally safe experience

From a program implementation perspective, the use of Patient-Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) has emphasised the key elements that truly promote a culturally safe experience, resulting in:

Reduced patient stress levels.

Higher patient attendance rates, including pre and post-surgery clinical care.

Patients championing surgery back in community encouraging others to access treatment.

Key learnings

The below key learnings acknowledged across the evaluated surgical pathways, have informed the delivery of surgery and have been built into the coordination process:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers attending appointments with patients.

Coordinating surgical group appointments with fellow community members.

Having a support person/carer travel with patients to assist with clinical and practical domains.

Culturally sensitive communication and support both from the facilities and health providers.

Providing adequate transport support and appropriate accommodation options.

Clear communication of post-surgery follow-up care to patients.

Clear communication between providers involved in the patient’s pathway prior to surgery and post-surgical follow-up.

Ensuring each patient’s involvement in their own healthcare decision making.

Work with us

CheckUP are keen to work with all outreach providers interested in incorporating patient feedback into their practices’ quality improvement processes. CheckUP are currently collaborating with several providers and program fund holders keen to develop patient reported measures relevant to their specific environments and health service pathways.

Interested in implementing patient centred program evaluation methods?

CheckUP welcomes your expressions of interest in patient-centred program evaluations. If you would like to discuss exploring innovative methods to collect patient feedback specific to your needs, please contact CheckUP Lead Evaluator Philippa Hawke.

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Learn more about CheckUP’s Evaluation Program

CheckUP Australia is committed to value-based healthcare. By partnering with health consumers and their communities alongside health service providers, CheckUP encourages and supports patients to participate in improving the appropriateness, timeliness, cultural safety, effectiveness and efficiency of services delivered to them.

Evaluation program

Queensland Mental Health Week grants open now!

 

We are excited to announce that the Queensland Mental Health Week Community Events Grant Program is now open for applications!

In 2024, $100,000 worth of grants are being made available to help organisations across the state host Queensland Mental Health Week (QMHW) events.

The theme for Queensland Mental Health Week 2024 is “Connect for mental health”. This QMHW, we want Queenslanders to consider and connect with the people and communities that help them be mentally healthy.

The grant funding will support innovative events that provide a focal point for awareness, education, and understanding of mental health and wellbeing, help foster community connection, and enhance inclusivity for those living with mental health challenges.

 

Apply now

About the grants

Funded by the Queensland Government through the Queensland Mental Health Commission and administered by CheckUP, the Queensland Mental Health Week Community Events Grant Program provides the opportunity for eligible organisations to apply for up to $2,000 to assist with event costs.

Community organisations, charities, local councils, sports clubs, school P&Cs, workplaces, and more are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to make a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing in your community.

To understand eligibility requirements, please read the 2024 Grant Guidelines before applying. You can also find a grant FAQ on the Queensland Mental Health Week website.

Apply for funding before the deadline on Friday 17 May 2024.

To apply for a grant, please use SmartyGrants. You can sign up for a free account or use an existing account.

We encourage you to share this opportunity with your networks. If you have any questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@qldmentalhealthweek.org.au.

More information

Queensland Mental Health Week 2024 theme announced

 

We are excited to announce the theme for Queensland Mental Health Week 2024 is “Connect for mental health”, emphasising the proactive measures we can adopt to nurture and support positive mental health and wellbeing for ourselves and our communities.

Queensland Mental Health Week provides an opportunity for all Queenslanders to consider and connect with the people and communities that they rely on to help them be mentally healthy, through a range of events and activities.

Connect for mental health focuses on four areas:

  • Connect with self: Take care of yourself, do something you enjoy, make healthy choices, and seek help when needed.
  • Connect with community: Create supportive and inclusive environments, look after one another, and connect with culture. Show kindness and initiate connection with those who are struggling.
  • Connect with others: Foster relationships with loved ones, friends, family, and mob. Spend time with others and make meaningful connections.
  • Connect with nature: Take a break from technology, spend time outdoors, embrace mindfulness, and take care of the world around you.

More about the theme

Valuing what patients say about Outreach services 

CheckUP supports and encourages Outreach service providers to collect patient feedback. Information sourced from patients is incredibly valuable in supporting quality improvement of health services, enhancing patient experience & engagement, as well as identifying trends and patterns. 

All contracted Outreach service providers are supplied with various resources to assist with the collection of patient feedback, making it easy to source valuable input from patients.

One of the many focuses for Outreach services across Queensland is providing quality care that is closer to home, as this continues to still be a challenge for people living in rural and remote areas.

In addition to collecting information from the patient about their experience of the health service, we also ask them what distance they travel to attend their Outreach appointment.

Surveying 802 patients from 2020 to now, we noted that patients travelled these distances to attend appointments:

64.2% of patients indicated they travelled 10km or less

19.4% indicated they travelled between 11-50km

We encourage all service providers to make gathering patient feedback a priority, so we can continue to work together to effectively create healthier communities and reduce health inequities.

Here are some quotes from the patients expressing their gratitude for services delivered closer to home.

“Fantastic care and the service that is available for our remote location by Cecilia and the team is vital to the health and well-being of our community. Thank you.”

 

 

“Grateful that I didn’t have to travel 2 hours.”

 

“The service is good for the community and for those unable to travel long distances for consultations.”

“Maintain the excellent service in Ranveshoe. If it wasn’t available, diabetics in Ravenshoe would have to travel many kms to see a diabetes educator and if this was the case they probably wouldn’t go to see one. There are many elderly diabetics who need this service as well as indigenous and young people.”

 

 

“Its a wonderful service for a rural town.”

Patient Feedback Survey

If you would like to share the patient survey link with your patients you can access it via the button below.

If you would like patient feedback printed resources including, posters, postcards and a hardcopy of the survey please contact contracts@checkup.org.au and our team will arrange these to be sent.

Embracing the spectrum

Next week is Neurodiversity week. Neurodiversity week is a worldwide initiative designed to recognise and celebrate the strengths of people who are neurodiverse, while challenging the stereotypes and misconceptions that are associated with neurological differences.
CheckUP Outreach provider Laura Zimmerman, Director of Macintyre Health, recently shared her powerful personal story with us. Laura’s story emphasises the importance of understanding and embracing the strengths of individuals with neurodivergence.

Article originally shared in CheckUP’s IMPACT Magazine Vol. 1o

 

It was 1991 and I was six years old, standing next to my mother in her favourite jewellery store in our small suburban town when a woman  told her that I would struggle academically. “You will have to come to terms with it”, the woman told her. “She’s not smart. You will have to make plans for this. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to her.” My speech was delayed until I was eight years old. I have encountered numerous levels of stigma throughout my life – yet this comment, when I was six years old… never left me. Never underestimate the power of words.

I have only recently started discussing my synaesthesia. I work in diabetes and metabolic health – everything is graphs and numbers. My singular focus allowed me to achieve high marks in my post-graduation qualifications, start multiple businesses and run clinics across half of Australia. People living with autism or neurodivergence are more than their list of perceived deficits. When understood, we contribute greatly to the world around us.

 

Inspired by reducing stigma, I’ve chosen to reveal my autism journey, driven by my son’s diagnosis and the desire to reduce the stigma for him and others like us in accessing healthcare. This transformative decision has allowed me to unmask my struggles while celebrating the strengths that arise from my neurodivergence.

 

 

As a business owner living with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, I recognise that individuals with firsthand knowledge of their conditions are the true experts in their lives. Sharing my experiences with disability can help me help others overcome stigma – creating more inclusivity and compassion. Openness fosters understanding and acceptance and empowers others to share their stories. Together, we can build healthier, more vibrant communities that celebrate and support disability and neurodiversity.

Access for All

Approximately 18% of Australia’s population is estimated to have a disability, with around 10% experiencing profound discrimination that hinders their day-to-day activities, including medical visits. This discrimination has tangible effects on their health and mental wellbeing. The healthcare system still struggles with addressing the historical and present stigma surrounding disability.

CheckUP’s Access for All training course bridges gaps in knowledge and experience that healthcare providers face in delivering patient-centred, culturally safe care to people with disability. This initiative, funded by the NDIA, equips healthcare providers like Macintyre Health with vital tools and resources for delivering person-centred care.

Find out more