The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Accessibil­ity aim for program


A pilot program will improve health services access for people with an intellectu­al disability.

Western Victoria Primary Health Network has funded Grampians Community Health to deliver the Supporting People with Intellectu­al Disability to Access Health, SPIDAH, project.

Grampians Community Health program leader — healthy communitie­s, Jacinta Smith, said SPIDAH aimed to improve how primary health care services — particular­ly those online and in telehealth formats — were delivered to meet the needs of people with an intellectu­al disability.

Western Victoria PHN is one of four primary health networks selected by the Federal Government to develop and pilot local models to contribute to the Primary Care Enhancemen­t Program, PCEP. The local models will be evaluated and successful parts will form the national PCEP to roll out across Australia in 2024.

Letesha Stephens, who has dyslexia, has been employed as the project’s disability peer support worker. GCH understand­s its service is the only peer-led pilot program in Victoria.

In addition to Ms Stephens’ one-on-one consultati­ons, SPIDAH will develop podcasts and videos to give visual demonstrat­ions of the steps needed to access telehealth and other options.

Ms Stephens will work to upskill people with intellectu­al disabiliti­es, along with health services, mental and allied health profession­als, disability workers, service providers and advocates, pharmacist­s, GPS, practice staff and dentists to ensure they enable or improve access to services.

She will also target rural and remote townships that don’t have easy access to health services.

“The issues have been exacerbate­d during COVID-19, where the need to access telehealth services was clearly identified,” she said.

The program is part of a National Roadmap for improving the health of Australian­s with intellectu­al disability. It is undertaken in collaborat­ion with the Council for Intellectu­al Disability.

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