By Deanne (Pathways to Good Health Nurse, CGHS)
Central Gippsland Community Health Service, along with Gippsland Lakes Community Health and Latrobe Community Health, is involved in a pilot program called Pathway to Good Health.
The program has been initiated by the Victorian Government to help support child protection children entering out-of-home care.
The program here at CGHS involves children, from babies to 18 years of age, being referred by a GP to our MDT (multidisciplinary team) clinic. The clinic is currently being held at the CRC building, and is open for the children each fortnight on a Friday.
Many of the children have experienced extreme hardship and trauma and as a result, have increased health problems including behavioural and emotional problems, and developmental delay. The children and young people who visit our clinic consult with our paediatricians, speech therapists and psychologist and receive a comprehensive assessment and a twelve month Health Management Plan outlining recommendations for further health care where needs are identified.
The program was first piloted by the Children’s Hospital in the North West Metropolitan region in Melbourne in 2012. Gippsland has been chosen to refine and develop the program further in preparation for a state rollout in 18 months from its commencement earlier this year.
Since the commencement of our MDT clinic here at CGHS, we have had eight children visit the clinic and a further five children awaiting attendance.
In 2013 there were approximately 5,600 children and young people living in out-of-home care placements and about nine percent of these young people were living in residential care. We currently have three children living in the Residential Unit in Sale.
My role as a nurse involves coordinating the MDT clinic and also working as an outreach nurse, visiting Sale’s Residential Unit providing support and health education to the young people and their carers.