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Western Sydney Health Check

Author: Western Sydney Local Health District staff

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Hear from our leading experts on healthcare-related issues from five hospitals and a range of health services in Western Sydney. Proudly produced by Western Sydney Local Health District.
19 Episodes
Eight Australians die by suicide every day. More than twice as many Australians die by suicide each year than in car crashes. For every person who dies by suicide an additional 30 will try to take their life.This is the confronting reality that inspires the Towards Zero Suicides (TZS) project, a NSW Premier’s priority initiative to reduce the rate of suicide deaths in NSW by 20 per cent by 2023.Driving that work within Western Sydney Local Health District is Rowena Saheb, the TZS mental health project officer who joins us on the latest episode of Western Sydney Health Check.Rowena is also a national R U OK? ambassador who uses her own lived experience of suicide to inform her work and advocate for change in Western Sydney.In this episode, Rowena talks about the three main suicide prevention projects underway in WSLHD, and offers advice on how we can all become community champions using the R U OK? conversation starter tips.If this story or the podcast raises any issues for you, you can call Lifeline for free personal support at any time on 13 11 14.To find out more about the mental health services available for you or someone else in need, call the Mental Health Line at any time on 1800 011 511.In an emergency, please call triple zero (000) immediately or go to a hospital emergency department.
When seven-year-old Deyaan Udani learned about organ donation at school, he was excited to share the news with his father Rupesh.None of them could have imagined that just months later a sudden tragedy would claim the young boy's life — and leave his parents with the heartbreaking choice to honour their son's wish and give four others a second chance at life.In this emotional episode, Rupesh shares his story and how he has since dedicated his free time to raising awareness of organ and tissue donation.He is joined by Blacktown Hospital intensive care specialist Dr Dhaval Ghelani, who explains the process of organ donation and addresses people's concerns and misconceptions.Read more about Saffron Day and sign up to become an organ and tissue donor here:
Do mozzies like sweeter blood? Do they transmit COVID-19? Is it only female mosquitoes that bite?These are the kinds of questions ‘Mosquito Man’ Dr Cameron Webb gets regularly, and breaks down for us on the latest episode of Western Sydney Health Check.As the weather begins to warm, Dr Webb warns that mosquito numbers will rise and provides some tips on protecting yourself from the annoying bites.He also explains why he's one of the only people to willingingly get bitten by these airborne nuisances.
Dementia affects close to half a million Australians. Yet despite the stigma, it is possible to enjoy a rich and active lifestyle for years after diagnosis.In this episode we speak to Geetika Dayal, whose mother has early onset dementia, and WSLHD dementia advisor Sue Tolhurst.Geetika speaks about the reality of her mother's condition and how it has been for her father to transition from partner to carer after 46 years of marriage.She also discusses the importance of looking after your own health and wellbeing as a carer.Sue shares what support is available for carers from groups including Dementia Australia and the WSLHD Dementia Advisory Service.For support, call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
We welcome our first return guest this episode in Dr Shopna Bag, director of the Public Health Unit in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).Dr Bag and her team have led the incredible contact tracing efforts in Western Sydney, interviewing every one of our 500+ COVID-19 patients to find out how they caught disease and who they might have passed it onto.In this interview she delivers expert insight into how NSW managed to cope better with the 'second wave' of infections in July compared to the first spike in March.Dr Bag also directly addresses the accusations that we 'overreacted' in our response to a disease that has now claimed nearly one million lives worldwide.She speaks personally about the highs and lows of working with patients during this stressful time, what she's learned about herself this year, and why she loves working in public health.
It covers 23 different, highly specialised roles - but what exactly is 'allied health'?WSLHD Allied Health director Jacqueline Dominish joins us to explain her portfolio and outline the three-year strategic vision that was recently launched.Jacquie speaks honestly about the difficulties facing our culturally rich and diverse community – including language barriers, lack of health understanding, mental illness and disability – and what we’re doing to overcome these issues.She also shares her own journey into allied health, from her teenage sporting career and time on the physiotherapist’s bench to witnessing a friend’s tragic, life-changing accident.
Westmead Hospital security officer Fred Nachar thinks he should have a new job title: "customer service officer".The beloved member of the security team clocks tens of thousands of steps each shift as he makes his away around the vast campus, helping patients and checking in on staff while also being prepared to respond to any urgent matter at a moment's notice.He also had an unconventional path into security, spending most of his career running a horse-riding school -- a passion he still maintains in his own time.Join us for this enlightening episode as Fred explains the challenges of security and why he loves his job.
Blacktown Hospital’s Dr Maria Nittis speaks candidly about domestic violence (DV) and the support available in this episode of Western Sydney Health Check.Maria is the department head of the forensic medical unit, a service that documents the injuries of victims and helps them access legal and social support.She reveals that DV is rising within Western Sydney during the COVID-19 pandemic, and can take many forms including physical, verbal, emotional or financial abuse and social isolation.Maria says no-one in the health system will judge you for seeking help, and everyone has the right to feel safe in their own home.Blacktown Hospital has a dedicated DV team who work with NSW Police to provide advice and support from specialised counsellors. The service can be contacted from Monday – Friday on 9881 7752. 24/7 domestic violence support is available by calling 1800 65 64 63 or 1800 RESPECT.
From helping patients learning to walk again to helping them talk, Westmead Hospital physiotherapist Hariette Esterman says working on the frontline of COVID-19 is no easy task.Hariette works in Westmead Hospital’s ICU as an acute physiotherapist and found her passion for helping the most vulnerable patients after her new graduate placement.As an acute physiotherapist, Hariette jokes that they might be the only people in the world asking people with COVID-19 to cough.Their role includes helping patients with their breathing by clearing mucous from their lungs and airways – which is why they ask COVID-19 patients to cough as part of their recovery.On the latest episode of our podcast Western Sydney Health Check, Hariette describes her passion for physiotherapy and life on the front line, as she helps patients recover from COVID-19 and other tasks.She talks about the incredible connection and bond formed with her patients and the memorable moment of helping a patient stand up for the first time.
Jessica Lam and Ikneet Kalsy are both 22, both pharmacy interns, and both members of the Western Sydney Local Health District Youth Council, providing invaluable input into our services from a young person’s perspective.In episode ten they discuss some of the effects the pandemic has had on young Australians including social isolation, loss of work and study disruption, and share their perspective on whether or not young people are taking 'big rona' seriously.They also share hopeful stories of how young people are helping others right now and how this tough situation might lead to improvements in the future.
Dr Kavita Varshney from Westmead Hospital’s emergency department drops in for a chat with her five-year old niece Zara. Zara is the star of an important COVID-19 video message where she cleverly imitated her aunty’s video message for a NSW Health campaign. Dr Varshney talks about how the Westmead Emergency team tackled the COVID -19 pandemic and how staff supported each other during this challenging time.  We talk to Zara about her gratitude to the staff at Westmead Hospital and what she has been up to during home-schooling. 
As a community nurse, she’s passionate about caring for the vulnerable, particularly Western Sydney’s young people and those experiencing homelessness.In episode eight we speak to Nina about a new clinic providing free flu shots and COVID-19 screening to disadvantaged and at-risk people, the inspiration behind her team’s work, and the response they’ve had so far from the community.You can contact High Street Youth Health Service on Facebook 65 High St, Parramatta NSW 2150Phone: (02) 8860 2500 
Registered nurse Ashleigh Peters chats about her experience working in the COVID-19 ward at Westmead Hospital. We hear about her rise through the nursing world and the GradStart program. Yervette Jones, WSLHD Workforce nurse manager, gives an overview of the 2021 GradStart program and the benefits of joining the incredible team at Western Sydney.  For information on the WSLHD GradStart program  
In episode six we speak to intensive care specialist Dr Tom Solano, critical care coordinator for Western Sydney Local Health District.Dr Solano shares what he and other intensive care staff have seen so far, what they’ve learned from cases overseas, and how they’re feeling about treating patients critically ill with COVID-19.He also shares what our District is doing to dramatically increase intensive care capacity in the event of a spike in cases.
In episode five we speak to Professor Bill Brakoulias, executive director of mental health services for Western Sydney Local Health District.Prof Brakoulias provides insight into how COVID-19 is causing stress and anxiety, leading to some extreme behaviours including fights over toilet paper and anger at health workers, as well as more common symptoms such as irritability and sleeplessness.He also offers advice on how we can seek help and care for each other in a time when most face-to-face contact is not allowed.If you or someone you know is in a crisis situation, please call triple-zero (000) or the following organisations for 24/7 support:·         Mental Health Hotline – 1800 011 511·         Lifeline – 13 11 14·         Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36·         Men’s Help – 1300 78 99 78
In episode four we speak to gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Andrew Pesce, who has delivered thousands of babies at Westmead Hospital over many decades.  Dr Pesce provides advice and reassurance for pregnant women on how to keep themselves and their babies safe from COVID-19, and what to expect when they come to hospital to give birth. 
In episode three we speak to one of our health heroes, junior medical officer Dr Brandon Verdonk, who's been working around the clock to help the community of Western Sydney deal with COVID-19.At the coal face of the pandemic, Dr Verdonk takes us behind-the-scenes to give us exclusive insight into his daily dealings with COVID-19 in this week's Western Sydney Health Check podcast. He also speaks about working alongside many of the unsung heroes at Westmead Hospital's fever clinic. Please note that the testing criteria have recently been expanded to recommend testing of individual patients with symptoms or fever suspected to have COVID-19:-        Who live in communities with local transmission, see:       Who live in remote Aboriginal communities  -        Who have been referred by their GP or public health unit to a COVID-19 clinic for testing -        Whose clinician, after taking a full history, has reason to suspect that the patient may have COVID-19 Please remember that if you suspect someone has COVID-19 clinically that you should also provide advice that they should self-isolate.
In episode two we ask the big questions about COVID-19, including what it is, how it’s spreading and what happens if you test positive.Our guests are Professor Tania Sorrell, Director of Infectious Disease Services, Westmead, and Director of the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, University of Sydney; and Dr Shopna Bag, Director of the Public Health Unit at Western Sydney Local Health District.Professor Sorrell and Dr Bag share their expert advice on how to protect yourself and your loved ones, and the latest knowledge from around the world.
Welcome to our new podcast Western Sydney Health Check, the only place to hear from leading experts on healthcare-related issues from five hospitals and a range of health services in Western Sydney.In episode one we are joined by our chief executive Graeme Loy as he discusses COVID-19 and what our district is doing to prepare for the pandemic.Proudly produced by Western Sydney Local Health District.
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