Women's Health Victoria

Partner Profile
 

Women’s Health Victoria Inc. focuses on improving the lives of Victorian women. They undertake strategic health promotion and advocacy to improve women’s health and provide a number of direct services.

Telehealth cancer support services for rural and regional Victoria
Jun 2018 - Nov 2019

Many women living in regional and rural areas miss out on vital patient-support services because they don’t have access to metropolitan hospitals. Counterpart, the cancer service of Women’s Health Victoria is changing this by leading the way with telehealth* cancer-support services.

Counterpart services connect and inform women with breast or gynaecological cancer. The telehealth project will connect Counterpart’s services to those living with cancer in rural and regional Victoria.

Watch this video to learn more about how we've supported Counterpart

 

Building on previous success

Between 2015 and 2017 the LUCRF Super Community Program funded the Bridge of Support program established through the partnership of Counterpart and Western Health – Sunshine Hospital. This program gave women in Melbourne’s western suburbs access to face-to-face support following a cancer diagnosis and during treatment. It was so successful it’s now embedded in the supportive care provided at Sunshine Hospital’s breast clinic.

The same level of care delivered remotely

Following on from the success of the Bridge of Support program, the Community Program is now funding the telehealth project to provide women in regional and rural areas with the same level of practical and emotional support as their Melbourne and metropolitan sisters, through webinars, video conferences and interactive meetings.

The use of telehealth as an alternative communication and delivery channel for health and wellbeing services is a growing area and vital to the wellbeing of cancer patients in Victoria.

The project has reached several milestones, including the scoping and installation of the telehealth hardware to enable effective delivery of educational events and support. Along with improved internet capability, this vital infrastructure is required to enable the effective delivery of telehealth.

Staff training has been conducted to ensure Counterpart staff are familiar with using the telehealth technology.

So far, Counterpart has successfully delivered four telehealth webinar sessions, delivered by specialist medical practitioners to an audience in excess of 250 people, from regional areas such as Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. The webinars to date have covered a broad range of topics such as ‘Peripheral neuropathy’, ‘Lymphoedema’, ‘Older, Fitter, Stronger’ and ‘Medical Cannabis’.

What's next?

A further program of telehealth events is being planned and communicated in monthly e-updates as well as postal mailings to service users and cancer service providers.

To highlight the benefits of the services available, Counterpart is developing a set of easy to read guides. The emphasis being on ease-of-use to ensure people are comfortable using telehealth, logging in to a webinar or accessing services.

As well as informing and engaging with clients, Counterpart also continue to work with internal staff and stakeholders to build confidence in using telehealth.

Counterpart is currently exploring how best to utilise telehealth for peer support volunteer training and plan to expand their service to more regional and rural locations, giving all Victorian women access to the best quality healthcare. 

* Telehealth is a digital video conferencing system that allows patients in remote areas to connect with healthcare providers in metropolitan centres.

Women's Health Victoria

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