News in brief

A round up of industry news including an environmentally friendly retirement village, food alert, research, and educational events.

Compiled by Yasmin Noone

  • Dr Patch Adams to visit Sydney to present a workshop on his brand of natural medicine in May
  • University of Sydney research results from a study on social media and loneliness will be discussed at an upcoming symposium.
  • Glaucoma experts warn seniors about the dangers of the irreversible eye disease.
  • Aged care and health organisations are encouraged to apply for a National Preventative Health Award.
  • Blue Care Charleville Community Care turns 30.
  • Melbourne CAREX 2013 features Danish Pavilion of 11 innovative aged care and disability organisations.

The famous laughing medic, Dr Patch Adams, will visit Sydney on Friday 3 May to present a one-day workshop on ‘Living the Life of Joy”.

Presented by the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) at Rosehill Gardens, the workshop will feature on day one of the three-day, Natural Medicine Summit.

Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams is an American doctor, made famous not only for his pioneering work as a clown doctor, but also for the Hollywood movie about his life and work.

He advocates for peace, justice and care for all people. Patch has devoted 40 years to changing America’s health care system, and believes that laughter, joy and creativity are an integral part of the healing process.
Medical practitioners are invited to attend to learn more about natural healing and wellbeing and be inspired.

For tickets and more information visit:

Social media buffs and first-timers alike are invited to attend a University of Sydney seminar to hear about the results of a social media study which aimed to decrease loneliness in older Australians.

The free event, presented as part of the Seniors Week Symposium, will be held at Sydney Town Hall, 10am-12noon (doors open from 9:15am) on Friday 22nd March.

The university research – Connecting Older Adults – found that social media can be effective tool for decreasing loneliness, especially for those adults who are house-bound.

The study involved 150 participants aged 55 and over with the majority aged 65 and over. They were provided with only brief training in three social media technologies, Twitter, Facebook and Skype, prior to a six month trial period.

Research lead, Professor Robert Steele, said that in commencing the project, he was also interested in whether cost, privacy concerns or lack of interest or issues of self-efficacy when using technologies posed an obstacle to the older user.

“The results we have are very interesting and supportive of these technologies” reported the project lead, Professor Steele, who is the head of Discipline and chair of the Discipline of Health Informatics at the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

“Results showed a highly statistically significant decrease in loneliness when comparing pre-trial data to post-trial data, for participants who started using the social media technologies. The majority of participants also reported that the use of technologies help them to be more connected and engaged with the community.”

To attend the symposium, email or call 1800 729 368. Bookings are essential.

For more details on the project, contact Professor Robert Steele

World Glaucoma Week, happening now until Saturday 16 March, has prompted medical advocates to remind older people of the importance of regular glaucoma checks and early treatment.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has urged seniors to speak to their GP or Optometrist who can arrange a referral to an ophthalmologist for a regular check.

Glaucoma specialist A/Prof Ivan Goldberg AM explained how only an ophthalmologist can confirm the diagnosis and treat glaucoma.

“They have undergone extensive medical training (on average 12 years) making them experts in examining, diagnosing and treating diseases such as glaucoma”, said A/Prof Goldberg.

Glaucoma, the leading cause of preventable visual loss, is an irreversible condition which affects the optic nerve. If undetected, glaucoma can progress until sight has been irreversibly damaged, causing varying degrees of permanent vision loss and visual disability.
“I urge anyone over 40 years to be tested, both eye pressure AND optic nerve examinations are vital for diagnosis.”

Australians are being encouraged to nominate employers promoting healthy workplaces and preventive health issues in the inaugural National Preventive Health Awards.

The awards aim to showcase current, practical and effective workplace programs that benefit the well-being of employees. They encourage leadership in the area of preventive health and promote greater awareness of the health challenges we face as a nation.

The awards recognise excellence and best practice in the field of prevention and health promotion across four key sectors; workplaces, research, Medicare Locals and the media.

CEO of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, Louise Sylvan, said: “We know there are many people and organisations who contribute so much time and energy supporting prevention and better health and well-being around Australia”.

“These awards allow us to recognise the invaluable effort of those promoting healthy lifestyles to enhance the quality of life for many Australians.”
Entries are open until 15 April 2013.

The awards are being managed by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency. For more details, visit:


Caption: (L-R) Blue Care assistant multi-service manager, Kelli Partridge; Blue Care Service manager, Mary Dunne; and Blue Care multi-service manager, Sue Harrison, take a break from the festivities for some fresh air outside the centre.

Blue Care Charleville Community Care has celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Blue Care Charleville community care service manager, Mary Dunne, said she started at the service in its first year, in 1983, as a registered nurse.

“When I first started there were only two nurses, now there are 14 staff members who hold various roles including personal carers and endorsed enrolled nurses,” Ms Dunne said.

“There’s certainly been a lot of growth during my time here – we now offer many different services in addition to nursing.

“There have also been many changes, most notably the move from being run by the local committee to regionalisation.”

Blue Care is a leading not-for-profit service provider and this year celebrates its 60th year of making a difference to the lives of people across Queensland and northern New South Wales.

This year’s Melbourne CAREX event, from April 17-18, will feature a ‘Danish Pavilion’ to showcase the innovative disability and aged care solutions to come out of the north European country.

Maintaining the dignity and quality of life of the elderly and disabled is a focal point in Danish healthcare and a common denominator for the exhibiting Danish companies.

Around 11 Danish companies will be at the pavilion.

Melbourne CAREX 2013 is an annual expo for managers, health professionals and other staff working in the health, aged care and disability space.

For more details, visit

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