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    NCAHA Forum - Aged Care and Allied Health on the North Coast NSW

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    Event description

    Our speakers will present on important new projects and policy of relevance to allied health professionals working in aged care on the North Coast.   

    Robyn Fitzroy will outline an exciting new aged care project that will in part focus on multidisciplinary training in local aged care settings in Casino, Kyogle and Bonalbo, seeking to add value to existing training programs for health professionals and advocate for new approaches to aged care training and service provision in rural communities; as well as developing training centres/hubs and student accommodation alongside multi-disciplinary service-learning education to encourage greater numbers of students across more disciplines to become immersed in rural communities with high needs.  

    Monika Wheeler will co-present with colleague Bronwyn McCrae (Deputy Director, Healthy Living and Ageing) to speak about the development of a North Coast Healthy Living and Ageing Strategy, inclusive of insights from recently completed social research and systems dynamic modelling for the Strategy.  They will also touch on initiatives from the recent Aged Care Royal Commission that Healthy North Coast have tasked to roll out in the region, and will draw on how these reforms as well as the Healthy Ageing Strategy are relevant in an allied health context.   

    Dr Jennifer Hewitt will provide an analysis of the Commonwealth funding instrument for residential aged care facilities - the AN-ACC – including the opportunities it presents for allied health professionals to improve services for the elderly and the flow on implications for reform in residential aged care. She will highlight the need for allied health professions to develop evidence for their services to inform these new models of care; and will focus particularly on the development of best practice pain management, restorative care and falls prevention programs. Discussion will be encouraged around real-world practicalities, issues experienced in the transition, and next steps to be addressed to continue to advocate for residents' access to best-practice allied health. You will also join your allied health colleagues in identifying the key challenges for providing allied health services in aged care and workshopping solutions for a better healthcare system.   


    Robyn Fitzroy - Director, Multidisciplinary Health - University Centre for Rural Health, University of Sydney 

    Robyn grew up in the Northern Rivers.  Her focus is firmly on health workforce development in rural, remote and regional Australia; particularly for Allied Health, Nursing, Pharmacy and Dentistry professions, to foster and promote multidisciplinary education and person-centred practice. 

    Her experiences and skills have been honed by working across a diverse range of sectors including community development, social policy, urban design, and public, environmental, and regional health. Robyn’s workplaces have included Local and State Governments, federally funded organisations, Community and NFP’s, private consultancies and University. 

    Her previous role with the North Coast Primary Health Network included establishing the North Coast Allied Health Association (NCAHA) as the Executive Officer; coordinating the initial needs assessment; collaborating with Local Health District and Family and Community Services particularly on ‘insecure housing’ and discharge planning.  

    Now, in conjunction with her current University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) role being a Director and Chairperson of the Board of the North Coast Allied Health Association (NCAHA), Robyn works closely with Allied Health Professionals seeking to ensure equitable access to health care and improve health outcomes. Whilst Robyn is not a clinician she intrinsically understands the role each clinician can play and the unique value they bring.

    Jennifer Hewitt - Physiotherapist and Educator, University Centre for Rural Health, University of Sydney 

    Dr Jennie Hewitt is a practicing physiotherapist, educator, and academic researcher with a passion for delivering best practice and leading research that informs health care policy.  

    She has been awarded the Aged and Community Services Australia, National Lifetime Achievement Award, and received a National Commendation for Better Practice, from the Aged Care Quality Agency, for her work on exercise for the prevention of falls in residential care. In 2019 she won the Morley Award for the paper most likely to influence policy and practice from the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.  

    Dr Hewitt's work has been used successfully to advocate for Australian Aged Care Funding Reform. She was invited to give evidence as an expert witness for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, in 2020, on the role of allied health in residential and community aged care. Her evidence was used to form new Medicare item numbers for allied health service provision, and federal funding for group exercise sessions. Dr Hewitt is currently working as a technical advisor to the Commonwealth Chief Allied Health Officer on an implementation plan to translate her exercise program to practice in 11 Primary Health Networks during 2021-22. Evaluation of this program will inform future health policy.  

    Dr Hewitt is a member of the NSW Health Frailty Taskforce Working Group, and the Health North Coast (PHN) Healthy Living and Ageing Reference Group. 

    Monika Wheeler - Executive Director – Wellness, Healthy North Coast    

    Monika lives with her young family on Bundjalung Country in the Northern Rivers and has worked the past several years with the North Coast Primary Health Network (Healthy North Coast) where she is currently Executive Director – Wellness.   

    She has 15 years’ experience leading social policy strategy and health service delivery and holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Sydney. She has worked at the local, state, national and international levels in government and not-for-profit organisations.  

    Monika is passionate about increasing community access to quality health care and empowering community members and health professionals to influence improvements to the health system. As the Executive Director – Wellness, she is driving improvements to primary health care, Aboriginal health, chronic disease management, ageing, workforce development, and population health. 



    WHEN:  Friday 28 October 10am-3pm
    WHERE:  UCRH Campus,61 Uralba Street, Lismore
    TICKETS:  $40 NCAHA Members, $60 non-members, Free for students, $20 on-line participation - 
    light lunch included


    Please note: You may be photographed or filmed for marketing purposes while attending this event. Please advise the organiser if you have questions, concerns, or do not wish this to happen. As an attendee you will be added to the SBP mailing list for event correspondence, follow up and upcoming event information.  The option to unsubscribe is available at any time.

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