Strategy 4: Chronic Disease

Welcome to the WQPHN 2021-2022 Annual Report Highlights. For a printable version of the report, please click here.

Improve management and prevention of chronic disease through planned proactive approaches within the WQ Health Care Home model of care, enhancing coordination, patient self-management and independence.
Digital Health in RACFs

The goal for digital health in RACFs is to have the appropriate virtual consultation facilities and technology for residents to access clinically appropriate telehealth care. RACFs can also utilise funding to address internet connectivity, and external support for installation, testing and training, beyond what can be offered by WQPHNs Digital Health Help Desk.

Aged Care facility residents can experience rapid health deterioration during the after-hours period, but immediate transfer to hospital is not always clinically necessary. We will work with our RACF partners to develop and implement after-hours action plans, and while still in a period of co-design at the time of writing, are looking into telehealth emergency services. To ensure continuity of care, uptake and meaningful use of My Health Record will also be a priority.

The WQPHN has funded 5 private RAC in the region to purchase equipment and provide training to enhance their capacity with virtual consultations after hours.

Residents who in the past have been forced to travel several hours to see their GP, now have the choice to see their GP via telehealth, supported by their nurse, in the comfort of their home.

In May to June 2022, WQPHN staff and key peak bodies travelled to a number of Western Queensland communities to facilitate Community Consultation Forums for both disability and aged care services in Mount Isa (NW), Charleville (SW) and Barcaldine (CW). These Forums provided an opportunity to hear first-hand about what it is like to access disability and aged care services in the region.

Representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland and the National Disability Services (NDS) participated and were available to give current updates and advice on services available through their agencies. Localised issues around ageing and disabilities in rural communities was evident, with a strong turnout at the three forums.   

Thin markets, access to transportation and the costs associated with providing services an underlying theme at all three forums. 

Healthy Ageing in WQPHN continued to take a proactive approach to ageing and empower our older community members to be more informed and aware of their health, and to seek ways to live their lives with as much independence and value as they need. To meet these needs aged care funding has focused on connection and providing information for the participants.
Visits were conducted to all commissioned service providers and communities receiving services. These visits allowed the WQPHN to better understand the current and future needs of our communities.

More than 20,000 occasions of service were completed and 170 individuals received services.

In 2022 initiatives such as after-hours and enhanced telehealth support, and the Care Finders program in Residential Aged Care Facilities will improve the outcomes for people seeking aged care services.  

Western Queensland (WQ) HealthPathways is an online resource for all health professionals across WQ. It outlines local clinical and referral information to assist health professionals in providing evidence-based care and make the best use of available services and resources.

Throughout 2021-22, pathways have been released in the child health, respiratory, mental health and substance use specialties. Ongoing work for updating of information for COVID-19 management has been important, and the collaboration between all Queensland regions has allowed sharing of pathways that contain information applicable to the whole state.

Pathways are developed through a systematic process with involvement of local GPs, subject matter experts and health providers. During 2021-22, we welcomed two new GP Clinical Editors, Dr Erica West and Dr Tiffany Cover to the team and celebrated the release of 200 pages since inception.

As we progress into 2022-23, we look forward to continuing work in mental health, as well as localising orthopaedic, dementia, aged care and endocrine pathways.

WQ HealthPathways GP Clinical Editors:  Dr Tiffany Cover, Dr Erica West, Dr Karen Benn, Dr Anthony Vogelpoel

WQ HealthPathways Celebrates 200 pathways

The Move It NQ program was developed in collaboration with the North Queensland Sports Foundation, Northern Queensland PHN, Western Queensland PHN, and Local Government Councils to support healthier and active lifestyles through the delivery of free, place-based sporting and fitness activities for their communities.
Activities are selected that suit a targeted demographic, such as young people, women, or the elderly in any group or region a Council is seeking to assist.
Local Councils including Boulia Shire Council, Carpentaria Shire Council, Cloncurry Shire Council, McKinlay Shire Council, Mornington Shire Council, Mount Isa City Council and Winton Shire Council have embraced the initiative and assisted in providing venues, facilitators, equipment and marketing.
Health benefits of the Move It NQ project include:
  • Promoting physical activity and lifelong healthy behaviours;
  • Encouraging mental and physical health and wellbeing through partnerships with local sport, recreation and health organisations;
  • Supporting healthy bones and muscles, heart and lung health and reducing the risk of chronic disease;
  • Supporting local councils and organisations in strategic planning and promotion of physical activity initiatives.
The program was extended for hard to reach groups to join in virtually during the 2021-22 financial year, and is now operating or being introduced in additional local government authorities across Western Queensland.
This coordinated approach across Western Queensland is having a positive impact on communities and has been embraced by community members. Click here to read feedback.
For more information visit Move It NQ here


Our Stories..

The Barcaldine 60 & Better program, supported by the WQPHN recently hosted the Barcaldine and District Seniors’ Games in October, one of 23 similar programs across Queensland.
COVID-19 restrictions led to cancellations in previous years but was welcomed back in 2021.
60 & Better Programs are healthy ageing programs designed to encourage people to maintain their interests and participate in all aspects of life through active physical, social and mental interaction.

The event was well-attended by the local community, who enjoyed a morning of healthy activities and games , while having access to Wellness and Healthy Living Information.

The local Qld Police Service even joined in the fun!

Participants were provided with a questionnaire to stimulate positive thinking to encourage control of their own health and to seek strategies to enhance their well-being and health literacy.

This and similar programs are not restricted to those over 60 years of age. All people over 50 years are eligible to participate.

 A lady with type 2 diabetes recently saw a diabetes educator who spent 90 minutes with her explaining her condition, how her medications work and how high blood glucose levels can impact overall health. This lady was supported to start taking her medication and monitor her diabetes.

One month later the patient came back for a review with the diabetes educator and said, "I wish I was referred to you ten years ago!"

Her fasting blood glucose levels are now in target, she is seeing an exercise physiologist, a podiatrist and an optometrist.

Her mental health is fantastic and she now takes medication because she understands how it works and benefits her overall health, mind, body and soul.

The diabetes educator encouraged this lady to spread the word and help other people in her community who are finding self-managing diabetes challenging to get a referral to a diabetes educator.

Our Stories...

headspace Roma 1st birthday

headspace Roma celebrated their first birthday on Wednesday May 4, 2022, with local crew and staff enjoying the celebrations, which included a great BBQ, cake, art workshops, games and a chill out zone.

Nukal Murra Virtual Home Monitoring

Chronic diseases are long-lasting, and while most are preventable and treatable, they cause approximately 64% of the disease burden among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and approximately 80% of the mortality gap.

COVID-19 and Aged Care

The steady achievers in 2021/22 have once again been the committed staff working in residential and community aged care.

Telehealth and Digital Health

Nearly 23 per cent of homes in Western Queensland have no access to the internet - we need to invest in the digital infrastructure to support access to telehealth, online supports, and community, aged care and disability services.

Healthy Ageing Aged Care Roadshow

WQPHN collaborated with Mable to visit regional communities throughout Western Queensland to discuss options for community-led aged care services and provide workforce solutions for rural and remote areas.

​WiSE Mental Health & Telehealth

WQPHN has commissioned headspace National to provide the Wellbeing in Schools Early Intervention Telepsychiatry program (WiSE).