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Patient Voices: Building Healthy Rural Communities

Building Healthy Rural Communities

These two workshops were facilitated by the Patient Voices Programme in Healthcote and Warracknabeal, Australia, using iPads to capture images, video and audio, and iMovie to assemble storytellers’ digital stories. The workshops were part of the La Trobe University ‘Building Healthy Rural Communities’ project.
The goal of the ‘Building Healthy Rural Communities’ project is to produce research that contributes to a future-oriented, community-relevant, efficient and effective model of providing health and human services for a rural region, in partnership with health and human services and communities.
The ’Community participation’ stream of research is about working with communities to promote participation in establishing health and service priorities and actions to address these needs.
Community is defined as all of the local stakeholders in service provision, including local citizens, service providers, agencies, politicians and policymakers. This stream is also about using new ways of involving people in design and decision-making. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to map services and health status; and digital stories to capture local experiences, reflections and wants are just some of the innovative methods being used by this team. Research areas addressed are:

Strong partnerships have been forged with key community health services to help investigate these topics.
Dr Amanda Kenny is the project lead on this stream.

The wanderer
Mish has spent much of her life travelling and meeting different people. To her family are the people she has collected along the way, not bound by history or religion.

Let me hold that for a while
Arieta’s desire to have a child has at times consumed her, but moving to a small community has given her time to heal and made her realise that getting on with life doesn’t mean giving up her dreams.

Where do I belong?
Elena questions her sense of sense and belonging, as she feels at home in both Italy and Australia.

Thanked but not beaten
Danny has faced many challenges during his life, including being made homeless aged 12. Now dealing with Parkinson’s disease, Danny is determined to see this as just another chapter in his life.

Diana believes we are all the descendants of survivors and her inability to have children made her feel incomplete and not fully part of humanity. Having tried everything in her power to achieve her dream and with many failures along the way, she eventually got the family she had always wanted.

Letting go isn’t easy
Sharon’s bond with her mother has always been very strong and she has been more like a best friend. Now watching her own daughter grow up, Sharon realises that her mum has grown old and soon she will need to find a new ‘best friend’.

Norma reflects on the journey that her father has now embarked on following his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2006.

Friday’s news
Nicole looks back at the life she shared with her younger brother, before he was killed in a road accident at age 21.

Power cut
Peter’s father has overcome many obstacles during his lifetime. Now, following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, he struggles to remain involved with his family and Peter wonders how it must feel to lose your sense of power.

Follow your heart
A chance remark made Katie determined to return to the nursing job she loved. But it wasn’t until she was sent on a Montessori for dementia patients training course that she realised the direction she now wanted to take. Today she is really making a difference to people’s lives.

A new phase in my life
Retirement brought a sense of loss to Orlando. A friend recommended he go along to the ‘’Men’s Shed’ – a community woodworking project. His fears of rejection were soon allayed and his weekly visits have now become one of the highlights of his week.

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