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Kate Redwood celebrated for community passion

July 19th, 2024Kate Redwood celebrated for community passion

Tireless volunteer Kate Redwood will step away when her current term ends with the Central Highlands Rural Health Board of Management to focus on new projects closer to home.

Tireless volunteer Kate Redwood will step away when her current term ends with the Central Highlands Rural Health Board of Management to focus on new projects closer to home.

“It has been a privilege and a joy to lead the fundraising efforts for Central Highlands Rural Health, over the past eight years,” she said.

“Central Highlands Rural Health provides wonderful health services to folk from Daylesford, Kyneton, Creswick, Clunes and Trentham regions – respecting local traditions and community wishes.

“Our fundraising efforts have seen funds raised locally used in the townships where the funds were raised. Community support has been wonderful and continues to bring happiness to many people.

“There are so many people both within the staff of Central Highlands Rural Health and in the community who I wish to thank from the bottom of my heart.”

Since 2016, Kate has served as a board member for Hepburn Health Service which became part of Central Highlands Rural Health in 2019.

Her contribution to the health service is remarkable, serving as deputy chair of the board, fundraising chair and a member of the Audit and Risk committee.

CHRH CEO Maree Cuddihy said the health service was “incredibly grateful to Kate for her energy, passion and determination to maintain and improve healthcare for rural Victorians”.

“She has an incredible network due to expansive involvement in community projects. Her focus on local solutions and her contributions across all of our campuses has been exceptional.

“She has been an inspirational mentor to our fundraising manager and has a lasting impact on all who have had the pleasure of working with her. We wish Kate all the best.”

Board chair Phillip Thomason said Kate had been an exceptional contributor to the board.

“Kate’s engagement with the Hepburn Shire community has been long and deep and across many facets of community life. This unique background and experience has seen Kate’s contributions delivered through the unwavering lens of the local community. “

Raffles raise money for rural health service

January 19th, 2024Raffles raise money for rural health service

Central Highlands Rural Health is currently running a raffle for an excellent cause with those who snap up a ticket in the running to win some attractive prizes.

Central Highlands Rural Health is currently running a raffle for an excellent cause with those who snap up a ticket in the running to win some attractive prizes.

The local health service provides acute care, urgent care, residential aged care, social support, community nursing and community health services to the 60,000 people living in the Hepburn Shire and Macedon Ranges Shire areas with campuses in Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford, Trentham and Kyneton.

Each campus has a range of programs that care for the community that they serve with the health service recognised at the Victorian Public Healthcare Awards in November last year.

Fundraising manager Kathryn Kosloff said the night was a celebration of health services around the state and highlighted the important role they played in their communities.

“It was great to have the incredible team at Central Highlands Rural Health acknowledged for their commitment to high quality care.”

Ms Kosloff said Central Highlands Rural Health was incredibly grateful for all the support it received in 2023.

“We received gifts and donations from generous donors that have enabled the health service to complete facility upgrades and internal refurbishments, purchase much-needed equipment and resources, as well as organise experiences for our patients, residents and clients.

“In 2024 the service has allocated donated funds to the Clunes Health Wellness Garden landscape designs and refurbishments in the Kyneton Health Dialysis Unit as well as upcoming campaigns to raise funds for a scalp-cooling machine for oncology patients and construction costs for the Wellness Garden.”

Ms Kosloff said rural health services continued to need local support. While they receive government funding, donations enable them to expand their programs and services, build new infrastructure and purchase the latest medical equipment that would otherwise not be possible.

“There are many different ways that people can assist their health service to deliver quality care to their community such as donations of funds, vouchers and goods or volunteering to assist with the delivery of meals on wheels and other projects.

“Community contributions have an enormous impact on the wellbeing of a town’s population.”
Ms Kosloff said each campus was currently raising funds to support their programs through their Christmas/New Year raffles.

The prizes are impressive and include a currently sold-out, limited edition Thermomix® TM6 Sparkling Black along with a Cookidoo®, its exclusive recipe library.

People can also win a $500 fuel voucher or a $250 grocery voucher from a local business.
Ms Kosloff said limited tickets were for sale so the chance of winning was good!

Tickets are $25 each and available now via www.chrh.org.au/donate or campus receptions. The raffles will be drawn on Monday, February 12 at 12.30pm.

To find out more about the services offered around the region or how to contribute to the wellbeing of family, friends and neighbours visit www.chrh.org.au or call your nearest campus reception.

Sometimes the universe…

November 23rd, 2023Sometimes the universe…

Sometimes the universe puts the right people in the right places – and on the day of the (tragic Daylesford) accident (Sunday, November 5) more than a dozen off-duty healthcare professionals from across the state were in the vicinity.

Sometimes the universe puts the right people in the right places – and on the day of the (tragic Daylesford) accident (Sunday, November 5) more than a dozen off-duty healthcare professionals from across the state were in the vicinity.


They all stepped up and without hesitation the emergency medical response was underway. Many of the healthcare professionals are employed by Central Highlands Rural Health.


Speaking with Community Health & Wellbeing operations manager Shane Richardson (pictured above), it’s obvious he is emotional about the past couple of weeks, when expressing how proud and inspired he is by those who provided immediate care for the victims and witnesses to this tragic event.


Funded by the state Department of Health, CHRH is the lead agency for delivering the psychosocial health response, and working together with Hepburn Shire Council, CHRH had established a drop-in mental health support space in Raglan Street within 24 hours of the event.


Over the first week, a team of seven counsellors helped 64 people either with face-to-face or over the phone counselling. There had been a move to close at the end of the working week but the decision was made to continue over the weekend to be available to support community attending Remembrance Day services and mourners visiting the scene from Melbourne’s Indian and Sikh communities.


“Our counsellors were present and available every day for the whole week. We saw people as they needed help, there was no barrier to seeking support. Many people who came in opened up with ‘I need to talk to someone’.”


Mr Richardson said more than 120 hours of direct care and follow up, was provided during this time, with people able to return multiple times. “We had a combination of counsellors available; mental health accredited social workers, drug and alcohol counsellors and trauma-informed practitioners. We were also very fortunate and appreciative that we had current and former staff make themselves available to ensure that we had the best fit for the nature of the event. All have strong trauma-informed experience.”


Mr Richardson said other community agencies also supported his organisation and staff with Uniting, and Ballarat Community Health providing additional key workers. “The community health organisations just came together and worked seamlessly, and everyone was looking out for each other, ready to respond.”


A number of trauma debriefings have been held taking in healthcare-based first responders and staff from directly impacted hospitality businesses. There is a calendar of future debriefing/support gatherings planned in consultation with those most affected. “We will be there when people are ready – whether that is this week, next week, next month or next year. We have a commitment from Uniting to continue providing key worker support from now until whenever it is no longer needed.”


Along with his staff and other healthcare workers, Mr Richardson has high praise for emergency services including Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police, the various local CFA crews who turned out, Springs Medical and Hepburn Shire Council.


Mr Richardson said the Council of Churches and Red Cross support workers had also done a wonderful job reaching out to people for a week.


“Further, VicPol has been amazing, continuing to have an active police presence focused on supporting the community recovery. And the community has been amazing as well – witnesses who just stepped in to help any way they could that night. People like our healthcare workers, who were out enjoying a Sunday night.


“This event has had a profound impact on many people – it is the most traumatic community event I have been involved in – and we have faced some pretty challenging times over the years. Being such a public location, with hospitality workers and visitors from many countries present at the time, the impact has been felt so widely. We have fielded calls seeking support from across the country. And of
course, with the Indian and Sikh communities – it is sadly worldwide. The incident’s scale and reach are phenomenal.


“The fundamental thing for me is that everyone has worked collaboratively, at the top of their game, and made sure they are listening to the needs of the community. The community wanted a vigil and a vigil was organised, they wanted a church service and we had one. The council and every agency involved is listening, sharing and collaborating to best respond to what the community is indicating they need.”


Mr Richardson said while it was “a terrible, terrible incident”, to watch people stepping forward to help in any way was the most rewarding thing he had seen in a 25-year career in healthcare. “Our community has just been amazing.”

Famed pianist gives fundraiser recital for local health cause

October 14th, 2023Famed pianist gives fundraiser recital for local health cause

Internationally renowned pianist Leslie Howard, pictured above, during a rare visit to Australia, gave an outstanding recital on September 17, as a fundraiser for Central Highlands Rural Health.

Words: Bronislaw Sozanski BA DipEd ATCL VMTA

Internationally renowned pianist Leslie Howard, pictured above, during a rare visit to Australia, gave an outstanding recital on September 17, as a fundraiser for Central Highlands Rural Health.
London-based Howard has recorded the complete piano works of Franz Liszt and is recognised as a leading scholar of the music of that composer. The capacity audience enjoyed a spectacular performance of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt.
The Mozart sonata K331, with the well-known Rondo Alla Turca, was performed (at a private local venue near Daylesford) with refinement and clarity. Continuing scholarship allows the contemporary listener to get closer to Mozart’s original score, with Howard performing the updates in his exciting reading.
The rarely performed Beethoven Fantasie Op.77 successfully projected Beethoven’s dramatic intentions, with the improvised character shining through. The sense of purpose and direction were always evident.
The performance of Chopin’s Barcarolle, from its simple, joyful opening to the colourful dramatic development remained true to the lyrical and poetic character demanded of this composer’s music, assisted by deft pedalling and well-controlled chord voicing.
The recital included Liszt’s Der Todesengel (Death’s Angel), a relatively recent discovery. The emotional intensity within the piece was clearly heard as the narrative was slowly revealed in this short but powerfully dramatic piece.
The recital was completed with Liszt’s two Ballades. The fireworks of these two bravura works were comfortably realised as Howard revelled in the music with which he is so closely associated.

Treehouse4Two: retreat for dementia couples

August 17th, 2023Treehouse4Two: retreat for dementia couples

A diagnosis of dementia can be incredibly upsetting, and unfortunately the incidence of this lethal disease is rising across Macedon Ranges and Hepburn Shires.
Treehouse4Two Retreat coordinator Paula Weekley, Central Highlands Rural Health executive director Phil Catterson and Treehouse program and social support manager Dora Mansbridge.

Words and Images: Eve Lamb

A diagnosis of dementia can be incredibly upsetting, and unfortunately the incidence of this lethal disease is rising across Macedon Ranges and Hepburn Shires.

However, some good news is that last week saw the local launch of a new federally-funded, free, three-day retreat offering people with dementia and their carers a valuable new source of respite and support.

Last Monday’s launch of the new three day (two night) Treehouse4Two retreat program follows Central Highlands Rural Health’s successfully securing $1.3 million in federal funding to make it happen.

They will now begin offering the new retreats in both the Hepburn and Macedon Ranges shires.

Launched at the Macedon Ranges Hotel and Spa, the retreats are designed to provide essential support, education and resources to navigate the difficult journey through dementia.

The specialised retreats are funded as an ongoing series through to mid 2026, and will take place in quality scenic local accommodation venues – with plenty of good food on the menu and an enjoyable “holiday vibe” as key aspects.

The first of the retreats are happening from this week with an initial intake of five couples attending.

Beyond this week’s, the retreats are then expected to accommodate six couples per retreat with all costs covered for participants.

“Sadly, there is quite an increase in dementia in both Hepburn and Macedon Ranges shires,” CHRH executive director Phil Catterson said.

According to a 2022 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 517 people were living with dementia in the Macedon Ranges Shire, of which 204 were males, and 314 were female. In Hepburn Shire, there were 389 people living with dementia, with 240 females and 149 males diagnosed.

The Treehouse4Two retreat program builds on CHRH’s existing Treehouse program which, for the past five years, has been supporting people living at home with dementia.

“We have had Treehouse for over five years now and it has been a great thing for us to understand how important respite is for people who have dementia,” Mr Catterson said.

“If you are given a diagnosis and it’s happening to you, it scares the heebie jeebies out of you and you don’t know how to react.”

CHRH Treehouse and Social Support manager Dora Mansbridge has an extensive nursing background, including in palliative care, and will be a leader for the new retreats that are based on a similar successful program run by Sydney’s Hammond Care.

“There’s a stigma that comes with having a dementia diagnosis,” Dora says.

“But dementia is not the end of the conversation. It’s the start.”

Knowing where to turn and how to begin managing and coping following a new diagnosis can be challenging and the new retreat program will especially aim to help those contending with a recent diagnosis.

Dora says couples who attend the retreats will enjoy time out to relax in a beautiful safe location.

But while it will feel like “a holiday” a skilled team of health and support care professionals will use the time to meaningfully engage with those who have the diagnosis and to provide their carers with skills and knowledge needed.

“Our aim is to provide essential support, education and resources to help people navigate this journey. It’s a tough gig – 24/7,” Dora said.

Sharing the load is a main aim and friendships and other valuable support contacts are expected to result.

“It’s going to feel a little like an extended family,” said Treehouse4Two Retreat Coordinator Paula Weekley.

Paula says the retreats’ outcomes will be closely watched with the hope of seeing them gain funding to continue beyond the initial four years.

Following this week’s very first Treehouse4Two retreat, three more will be held this year – in September, October and November, with ten then scheduled for each of 2024 and 2025, and six scheduled for 2026.

Hepburn Shire resident and carer Chris Ling and CHRH Treehouse program and social support manager Dora Mansbridge

Among those keenly looking forward to attending one coming up soon is Hepburn Shire same-sex couple Chris Ling and Lewis Short, and Chris attended Monday’s launch.

“Lewis was diagnosed in 2016 and we have already been using the Treehouse program in Trentham,” Chris said.

The (pre-existing) Treehouse program is also offered at Kyneton and is now being launched at Daylesford with plans to make it available at Clunes into the future.

“With the retreat, I am looking forward to being with other carers and I’d like Lewis to be comfortable in a different place other than at home,” Chris says.

“For him it’s a chance to be with other people besides me and that will hopefully be a break for us from our normal routine.”

Dora says that additional suitable safe and scenic accommodation venues across Hepburn and Macedon Ranges shires are being sought as potential sites to hold the retreats.

More information about the Treehouse4Two retreat program is available through Central Highlands Rural Health.

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