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290+ North Queenslanders register for Health Community Connectors workshops

Published 06 March 2023

More workshops planned as part of Compassionate Communities movement


More than 290 North Queenslanders across Cairns, Port Douglas, Cooktown, Innisfail, Atherton, Mareeba, Mackay, Bowen, and Moranbah have registered for the Heath Community Connectors workshops as part of the globally recognised Compassionate Communities movement.

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) recently put a call out for community members and groups to get involved with the movement as health community connectors to offer support to older persons in the region — and the response has been overwhelming, according to NQPHN CEO Robin Whyte.

“More than 290 registrations have been received to date for the Health Community Connectors workshops, which is a key project under the NQPHN Greater Choices for At Home Palliative Care initiative,” Ms Whyte said.

“The response has been astounding with individuals from all walks of life, experience, and backgrounds registering for the workshops and wanting to become more connected to their community.

“As the workshops progress, we are seeing more and more individuals and groups register to become health community connectors, who are everyday people who can care for and support older persons as they age, are near the end of their life, or who are grieving loss. They may be retired, health or community services professionals, or caregivers.

“There are many reasons why people answered our callout, including wanting to fill a void since retiring, create a better experience for others, connectivity, to help friends, add value to their communities, and network with like-minded people, while others want to play a part in planning their own end of life.”

Innisfail resident Mandy Larsen is originally from Coen in Cape York and attended the Health Community Connectors workshop in Innisfail as a community member.

“We spend so much of our life concentrating on a good life that planning our end is not given the same level of attention,” Ms Larsen said.

“It’s very important we have options in place, so our family clearly understands what our wishes are.

“The resilience it creates after death for family members has a huge impact on families, so it’s important we educate our community on what services are out there and to support them in putting their wishes in place.

“I’m interested to know what services we have in our community and how I can assist our community with any inquiries and sharing information that would benefit them when they are considering life and death for themselves or their family members.”

Ms Whyte said the workshops would also help to develop an understanding of people’s care journeys and collecting data to help with the future planning and design of palliative care services, which will enable more choice for at-home care.

Following the recent workshops, many health community connectors are organising barbecues, community events, support groups, expos, and trainings for National Advance Care Planning Week from 20-26 March 2023, which aims to educate people around their advance care planning and future health care options.

NQPHN will hold further Health Community Connectors workshops in Thursday Island and Weipa this month. The workshops are for individuals and groups who want to be part of the Compassionate Communities movement as health community connectors.

Future workshops are also planned for Hughenden, Charters Towers, Townsville, and Burdekin later in the year.

More information on the upcoming workshops can be found below:

Last updated: 07 March 2023