Village hopping without a hitch

Ruth Neagle1, Claire Easterbrook2, Fiona Murray3

1 Podiatrist, Inner Northern Community Health Service, PO Box 196 Gawler SA 5118, ruth.neagle@sa.gov.au
2 Senior Podiatrist, South East Regional Community Health Service, PO Box 267 Mount Gambier SA 5290, Claire.easterbrook@sa.gov.au
3 Advanced Clinical Lead Podiatrist, Country Health SA, Community Health Service, Angaston Hospital, 29 North Street Angaston SA 5353, Fiona.murray@sa.gov.au

The successful implementation of the Country Health South Australia (CHSA) Clinical Supervision Framework and ongoing work to build one cohesive podiatry team has had a significant impact on our ability to provide seamlessly integrated clinical care for Podiatry clients across country South Australia.  The Country South Australia regions have come together to create one podiatry ‘village’ and this in turn has seen better patient outcomes and improved patient satisfaction.

An example of this is when Judith, a client from Mount Gambier, was diagnosed with Charcot Neuroarthropathy (CN).  Management of CN requires blood tests, x-rays, weekly foot monitoring and Total Contact Casting (TCC) as gold standard treatment. TCC (generally required for several months) commenced in Mount Gambier but 4 months into her treatment Judith wanted to travel by bus 450kms to visit her daughter in the Barossa Valley for two weeks. Prior to the ‘Podiatry Village’ Judith would have either needed to cease TCC treatment for 2 weeks, return home after one week to attend an appointment or register as a temporary resident with a Barossa Valley GP to be referred as a new client to the Gawler Podiatry service. Now, because she is a ‘podiatry villager’, all that is required is a simple phone call and email handover to the Podiatrists in Gawler and Judith is able to travel away from home to visit family without interruption in her therapy.  Strengthened networking and communication channels and documentation across CHSA are responsible for this success and is an achievement worth celebrating.

Biography

Ruth is a passionate podiatrist with a Graduate Diploma in Wound Care.  She has ten years of experience working with high risk feet and more than half of those years has been spent working in rural and remote areas of South Australia and Queensland.