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Sexual and reproductive health: Asking, assessing, assisting young people

"Connections" is a teaching resource for general practice funded by RHCE2 Round one. A DVD has been made of illustrative scenarios exploring a range of topics relevant to the reproductive and sexual health of young people, including effective communication strategies, discussion of confidentiality, use of the HEADSS assessment tool and review of medico-legal issues. The project includes a train-the-trainer component and a standalone resource that contains a facilitator guide, CD, learning resources and participant workbook. 3 full day workshops, as part of the project, have been held in 2011 using the resource-in Brisbane, Cairns and Rockhampton.

Aboriginal Health Worker Diabetic Foot Screening “train the Trainer” Training held at the UniSA podiatry school on March 25th 2011. These rural podiatrist trainers will then deliver the training to their local Aboriginal Health Workers (Occurring in May and June), who will then add diabetic foot screening to their health assessments and refer to podiatry services if they discover any foot complications. This will help build the relationship between local Aboriginal Health Workers and the podiatrists that provide outreach services.

Rural Health Education Foundation Change Focus crew filming in the Cherbourg Hospital. ©

'Living Safely: Preventing Accidents & Injury in Indigenous Communities -

The aim of the RHCE2 funded project is to develop, produce and distribute an educational TV program on injury and accident prevention in Indigenous communities. The documentary-style program highlights successful projects and initiatives in Australian Indigenous communities:

-The Cherbourg Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion project in Queensland;

- A range of interventions conducted by the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs;

- Amata Community Safety Committee initiatives in the APY Lands, South Australia; and

- Burns prevention programs in Indigenous communities under the auspices of the Julian Burton Burns Trust.

RHCE2 Project - RHEF

The National Evidence Based Guidelines on Prevention, Identification and Management of Diabetic Foot Complications were unveiled in May at the 2011 Australian Podiatry Conference and confirms that the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health’s high risk project fits perfectly with the implementation of these national recommendations.

 Two significant recommendations are:

1. Any suitably trained healthcare professional may perform the diabetic foot risk assessment (as in our project)

2. Until adequately assessed, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with diabetes are considered to be at high risk of diabetic foot complications and therefore require foot checks at every clinical encounter and active follow up.

We are also collaborating with other recipients of the Rural Health Continuing Education grant. Deb Schoen travelled to Adelaide to participate in the train-the-trainer podiatrist workshop for Aboriginal Health Worker Diabetic Foot Screening course. Here in WA we will utilize in our interprofessional health workers’ education sessions the training manual "The Foot Book" developed by Dr Sara Jones.

Aboriginal Health Workers from Kununurra WA had the opportunity to attend a 2 day workshop on Chronic Disease in May 2011.
The first day  covered diabetes from early detection, causes and treatment through to diabetic foot care.

The second day focused on kidney disease, causes and prevention,  stages of kidney disease and support for the client with kidney disease.

Funding for the workshop was provided by Rural Health Continuing Education Stream 2 and the Department of Health and Ageing.

RHCE2 Marumali Workshop

Central Australian Mental Health Service staff (above) participated in a two day 'Marumali' workshop on 26-27 May 2011. The workshops were provided by the Centre for Remote Health and co-funded by RHCE2. 

ICEE: Eye health education

ICEE, thanks to funding from the Rural Health Continuing Education Grants, is developing and delivering a range of in-services on eye and vision topics to primary health care staff working in rural and remote Northern Territory locations. These in-services will be delivered by visiting optometrists in the second half of 2011, in conjunction with their outreach clinical work.

The International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE) has developed six training modules, which are being used by optometrists visiting remote Aboriginal health clinics, to provide in-service tutorials for local primary health care workers on-site.

Through a process of consultation with remotely located health workers, the following six topics were chosen:
1.    Measuring and recording vision
2.    Cataracts
3.    Diabetic eye disease
4.    Differential diagnosis of red eye
5.    Eye injuries
6.    Eye emergencies

Each module includes the following materials:
•    Participant handbook (with test-yourself questions)
•    Participant worksheets (where relevant)
•    Teacher's guide
•    Visual teaching aid (PowerPoint presentation or hard copy flip-chart)
•    Teaching/activity resources (e.g. V chart and pin-hole occlude for ‘measuring V’)
•    Evaluation questionnaires

The above materials are left with each health centre following the in-service delivery to provide a useful reference resource for that topic. A sample of materials from the cataract module are shown below:

The first training session took place in Katherine in September 2011. Since then, training sessions have occurred in communities throughout Darwin, East Arnhem and Central Australia.

General practitioners, nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers and other health workers have responded positively to further their eye care training.  To date 60 people from 12 different remote communities have been trained. Some of the comments made include:

“Excellent information given.  Enjoyed going.  Answered lots of questions.”

“Excellent information in an easy to understand format.”

“I can now identify eye emergencies in my remote workplace where there is no GP or specialist.”

“This is very relevant to my practice, as eye complaints are very common.”

The ICEE optometrists who have been delivering the training have also enjoyed the experience. One of the visiting optometrists said that being able to teach the local medical staff at the remote clinics he visited was ‘‘the highlight of my trip’’.

This new ICEE project aims to further the education and training of remotely located health staff enabling them to better handle eye related problems, increase eye care access and strengthening referral pathways. The training resources will continue to accompany optometrists on outreach trips through the remainder of 2011 and during 2012.

For more information please contact ICEE at:

Advanced Medications Practice for Aboriginal Health Workers (AHW)

Advanced Medications Practice for Aboriginal Health Workers (AHW) is a program developed by the Pharmacy Academics at the Centre for Remote Health, Alice Springs. In recognition of the uniqueness of the Northern Territory S29 Poisons Legislation, which allows AHW to supply certain medications, additional training is indicated – particularly in relation to pharmacotherapeutics and managing medicines for clients with co-morbidities. The program was piloted in 2010 and received funding from RHCE to offer 6 workshops in the Northern Territory (Alice Springs (2), Tennant Creek (1), Katherine (1) and Darwin (2)).  A component of this funding included training AHWs to co-facilitate the workshops. Feedback from the AHWs indicated they have all found the workshops significant to their work practice and have appreciated the AHW as a co-facilitator.

Regional Eye Training: Project Update

The Brien Holden Vision Institute and Vision CRC conducted a comprehensive and practical training course to equip Eye Health Workers (EHW) and Regional Eye Health Coordinators (REHC), with the eye care skills needed to coordinate and facilitate the delivery of eye care services in their communities.

Training packages were tailored for the different needs of News South Wales (NSW) and the Northern Territory (NT) held in both Sydney and Darwin throughout December 2012. Course material was modelled on the Institute’s existing training package with further developments made as a result of a ‘national training survey’ conducted in 2012 for (REHC and EHW). The survey results helped to establish the skill training required for eye care personnel.

Many participants attended this course for the first time. Those who had attended several eye health education courses participated in different sessions to build on their existing knowledge and skills. In NSW, the five day educational program was held in conjunction with the Aboriginal Health College (AHC) with educators from the Institute and AHC, as well as guest speakers such as and the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

The eye care course is designed in three categories: eye care knowledge - development of clinical skills (eg. vision screening, dispending spectacles); eye care organisational skills (logistical and administrative skills required for coordinating eye clinics); and patient education skills (facilitating the patient journey). It’s an interactive program which facilitates group work and team discussions.

“Thank you for presenting this course. I thought it was very useful and interesting and directly relevant to my work. Many thanks for finding the funding and making it possible for us to attend,” said a REHC.

These workshops formed one component of the Vision CRC Regional Eye Training project, by focusing on eye care coordination personnel. The next stage of the project will deliver on-site (e.g. in-service style) training to primary health care staff at health centres across the Katherine Region (NT) and North Western / New England Region (NSW), during March – May 2013.