Smiles filled the room at Gundungurra man Len Murphy’s Katoomba home last Friday during a visit by Blue Mountains Aboriginial Healthy For Life (BMAHFL) staff members Tracey Callegari and Tilly Elderfield.
Wheelchair-bound following a climbing accident in the 1990s, Len is supported by Home Care, Blue Mountains Community Health Nurses and BMAHFL.
The program first came to Len’s assistance in early 2011 to help him care for his mother. It continues to provide support since his mum moved into a nearby aged care centre.
“It (BMAHFL) has kept me out of hospital — I’m able to get check-ups, prescriptions and help with things like paperwork,” Len said.
“That takes a lot of burden and stress out.
“And we all get on, we always have a joke and well, you have to with these two.”
Entering its second year, BMAHFL assists more than 60 indigenous clients, catering to their health needs.
A need for the program was identified by the Blue Mountains Aboriginal Sharing and Learning Circle. It is overseen by a consortium of Aboriginal-controlled organisations, the Local Health District, council and the Blue Mountains GP Network.
Funded by the federal Department of Health and Ageing, it offers a holistic approach to indigenous health care and works closely with local doctors and nurses to support young mothers and people with chronic or complex health conditions common in indigenous communities such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease
“It’s so good to be working and helping people in trying to close the gap,” said Tracey Callegari.
“In the past with medical services Aboriginal people have found them difficult to access and to walk into a medical centre for some Aboriginal people can be quite a scary thing.
“We build a relationship with people and an understanding and you have to build up that trust.
“The service has been really well-received by people and local GPs and because it came from a community level that’s why it’s working.”
Tilly Elderfield said the program links clients to primary health care sites for annual Aboriginal health check-ups and can assist in obtaining medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. It also links clients with local cultural events and to services for help with housing, employment, financial and legal matters.
“Everything is connected when it comes to better health outcomes,” she said.
For more information, phone 4725-3166 and talk to Chris (manager) or one of the team.