St Vincent's Toowoomba teams up for wound care project
When a video depicting a Prison Health project in Victoria operated by St Vincent's Health Australia was sent out in 2018 it was probably not envisaged that it would lead to the creation of an innovative wound care project with Aboriginal community members in Toowoomba.
St Vincent's Wound Care Nurse, Kim Kaim, was so inspired by the project that she approached Assistant Director of Clinical Services, William Mundt, and Mission Executive, Mark Copland, to explore ways in which St Vincent's Toowoomba could have an impact on health in the local community. A meeting was held with the Inclusive Health Team, Aboriginal health workers and management at Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement Co. Goolburri, a local Aboriginal Medical Service, is across the road from St Vincent’s Hospital Toowoomba, so it was a perfect place to explore possibilities.
From this initial meeting relationships strengthened between staff from Goolburri and St Vincent's, and a co-designed project was submitted to the Inclusive Health Project for funding. The project combines the strong connection with the local Aboriginal community and Goolburri Health Advancement Co with expertise in the area of wound care. The project is designed with two key objectives in mind; the first being to increase the capacity and confidence of local Aboriginal health workers caring for patients with chronic wounds.
This is done through a training package designed and implemented by senior nurses at SVPHT. The confidence and competence of the Aboriginal Health Workers is measured as part of the research phase of the project through a partnership with the University of Southern Queensland.
“From our very first meeting I was so impressed by the passion of Goolburri staff in the area of wound care,” stated Mission Executive Dr Mark Copland.
“The staff are so keen to learn and improve their skills in this area.”
The second objective of the project is to treat local Aboriginal patients with chronic wounds.
“Goolburri CEO Lizzie Adams opened my eyes to the impact that chronic wounds have on the dignity of a person,” stated Mark Copland.
"Their self-esteem is severely affected and they become isolated from their community."
The beauty of this project is that treatment to a vulnerable part of the community is not withdrawn if the funds run out.
It empowers local community health workers to address this vital area of need and strengthens the relationship between St Vincent's Toowoomba and the local community. Our research team has embarked on a literature review and we believe this could be the first project of its type in Australia.