Sunday, 21 April 2024
    Australia's first preventive health care centre
    Health Care

    Australia's first preventive health care centre

    The Circle Foundation Cooperative (Circle) is a pioneering health facility seeking to provide holistic and community-based healthcare to regional Australians suffering from chronic disease.

    A Circle study revealed almost half of the 40,000 residents in the Eurobodalla suffer from chronic health conditions and the the rate of people dying with chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, dementia or Parkinson's disease in the Eurobodalla was above the state and national average.

    Circle wants to reverse those statistics through rethinking how health is provided in the community and focusing primarily on the patients' needs.

    "There's nothing like it in Australia - it's a completely new concept," Circle chairperson Margie O'Tarpey said.

    Ms O'Tarpey gave a real-life case study of how Circle would operate. Consider a 50-year-old single women living by herself in a rental in the Eurobodalla who suffers from schizophrenia. She is obese and develops chronic obstructive airways disease - she finds it difficult to breathe. She is socially isolated with no friends nor family, and develops cancer. The overlap of illnesses makes this a complicated case for the current health system.

    She thinks the health system today is too fragmented - with professionals operating in different areas and not communicating in a patient-first approach.

    "What we really need is a health system that is integrated, is holistic, and deals with the person as the centre," she said.

    Circle would provide an integrated range of services, including an allied health team, a psychologist, physiotherapist, dietician and occupational therapist. It would also include community workers and social prescribing - building community habits promoting healthy lifestyles, for example, starting a river walk or run group along the Moruya River to facilitate exercise and social interaction.

    The new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital will provide care for patients when they are sick, but Ms O'Tarpey sees the role of Circle to prevent hospitalisations.

    "Let's get early intervention and early prevention before they get into the hospital," she said.


    The Circle Foundation is an Australian-first preventative healthcare centre focusing on chronic illness in the Eurobodalla (Bateman's Bay Post)