Posted in Health and Well Being

Mistruths about healthcare during COVID-19

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 23 April 2020
Mistruths about healthcare during COVID-19

There are a lot of mistruths circulating in the community at the moment and we thought that we should take this opportunity to support you in understanding the importance of optimising healthcare during this COVID-19 pandemic:

Firstly there is a myth that people needing healthcare should stay at home to avoid overloading the health system or contacting the virus in a clinic or hospital.

There is nothing further than the truth. It is very much encouraged and always has been, that people SHOULD NOT stop coming to see their GP. Stopping seeing your GP during a pandemic is a major concern.

Regular screening, prevention and treatment are all very much needed to keep the medical system going and minimise the enormous strain that may occur when this whole pandemic/social isolation program ends. Regular general practice will be under enormous strain when this all ends if we don't maintain our regular healthcare visits. This is especially true for all chronic disease management such as asthma, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immunity and cancer care to name a few. Never has there been a more important time to support your immune system by maximising chronic disease management and supporting overall holistic health principles.

In short: seeing the doctor for your chronic disease is very important, especially during this pandemic.

Some patients have interpreted the recommendation to stay home to mean that their chronic conditions don't need care or aren't a high priority and that monitoring with testing can wait. This is potentially risky, as good chronic disease control might make the difference between overcoming infection or becoming overwhelmed by it.

Patients with chronic disease should be attending for pathology tests and health monitoring, and care planning and review appointments with the nurse are also available.

Some people are anxious about attending their doctor because they think they can contract the virus from walking in open spaces in public to get to the clinic. Some people are fearful of leaving the house, while others fear that a clinic waiting room is a high risk. At Whole Medicine, our doors are locked, every person entering the building is triaged, their temperature is taken and social distancing is upheld at all times. This includes monitoring of the staff and GP's as well. Exposure to the virus is regarded as someone who has been in close face-face contact for over 15-30 minutes.

Given these systems are now in place, which includes:

  • Triage online and by phone to separate outpatients who may have had contact with coronavirus patients, or who have had recent travel.
  • Upper respiratory tract infections or fever, the likelihood of being in a room with a subclinical carrier is an incredibly low risk.

Patients should be reminded that healthcare can now be provided over the phone in many cases, which can provide comfort for those needing to remain in touch with their doctor but anxious about attending.

Telehealth is a timely innovation that GPs can use to prevent patients from falling behind in their care.

Call reception for further information 03 5986 4229.

We are here to support you through this, please don't hesitate to ask for help.

Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Men's Health Children's Health Chronic Illness Health and Well Being Family GP Mental Health COVID-19  

Whole Medicine still accessible despite COVID-19

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 8 April 2020
Whole Medicine still accessible despite COVID-19

Firstly, we wish to acknowledge that we are very aware that many people are suffering from uncertainty, confusion, fear and social isolation at the moment and to all of you we send our warmest thoughts and best wishes.

Secondly, we would like to say a big thank you for all your support as a community. We have received so many kind wishes from people and gratitude for our service, which has been quite overwhelming. It is an honour to look after so many grateful people, who offer us all such respect during this challenging time. Australia is doing such a wonderful job of respecting each other and respecting the beauty of life for us all. I am particularly proud of what we have all achieved in all doing our part to flatten the curve.

Many people in the last few weeks have expressed guilt at making a normal medical appointment to see us, feeling like they are wasting our time or placing an unnecessary burden on our resources. Please, please, please be reassured, we are here for you, now more than ever. It is very important to us that we provide you with an even better service now. We have a lot of doctor and psychology availability at the moment and you are not wasting our time. This could be a great opportunity for some to start a new journey looking into health care for yourself, your family or your loved one or friend. Please don't hesitate to call us for all your normal medical needs. Our reception team will guide you through all the changes.

Below is an outline of our offering to our community throughout this pandemic:

  • ALL Patients are now eligible for Telehealth under Medicare.
  • Telehealth includes both video and/or telephone consultations.
  • Telehealth can be done in your home or office or from your car in our car park.
  • Medicare rebates apply to all telehealth consultations including all normal medical appointments, Care Plans, Mental Health Care Plans and Psychology and Dietetics Services.
  • All those over 70 and under 16 years and those at high risk of COVID-19 are bulk-billed.
  • Consultations done from the car park have the advantage that if you do require an examination or investigation this can be actioned at the time.
  • Our reception team will conduct payment over the phone and your Medicare rebate will be automatically reimbursed into your chosen bank account.
  • In the situation where an examination is deemed appropriate a follow-up appointment will be made.
  • Care plans and care plan reviews are all bulk-billed. There is no out of pocket cost for you. These can be done in the comfort of your home. Our Nurse Heather will be calling you over the next few weeks to schedule a good time.
  • All people suffering from upper respiratory symptoms, fever or flu-like illness or those with a travel or cruise ship history are consulted via telehealth only and are not seen in the clinic

Social-distancing is IMPORTANT to us:

  • To minimize human contact and interaction we ask all those that need to be seen at the clinic to wait in their car before seeing your practitioner.
  • Please call reception upon arrival to let us know you are here.
  • Our waiting room is as much as possible a people-free zone.
  • Our door is locked at all times at the moment to make sure this policy is strictly adhered to.
  • For all supplement orders: please phone reception on 5986-4229 to order and to pay. You can nominate to pick it up or have it posted to your home.
  • All people entering the clinic are to have their temperature recorded including staff daily.

Strict Cleaning and Sanitation is in place:

  • All the practitioners and staff adhere to strict hand washing between every patient.
  • A new cleaning roster has been devised and is activated throughout the day.
  • We will reduce any potential environmental contamination by cleaning with agents that are effective against corona viruses, particularly COVID-19. We use agents with high levels of proven efficacy based on external advice.
  • Hand sanitiser is available through-out the clinic for both staff and patient use.
  • We only accept card at this time: no cash, please.

Recommendations as to how these precautions should be implemented are changing all the time and we will strive to provide an environment where we can continue to deliver the best possible patient care, while also looking after the health needs of our valued patients and staff members.

Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Men's Health Children's Health Skin Health Chronic Illness Health and Well Being Family GP Mental Health COVID-19 Eating Disorders  

Burnout, burnt out, burning out

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 10 February 2020
Burnout, burnt out, burning out

In 2019 the WHO defined executive burnout as a real disorder. A condition that allows a fluctuating but significant mental health issue to be recognised is a very important move forward for our society's current workforce.

Characterised by cynicism, lack of effectiveness, fatigue, a feeling of overwhelm, disempowerment, disconnection, and a feeling of stress and anxiety. All of which disappears when the person is not working and reappears as that person gears up toward work again.

Disempowerment and disconnection are often found to be the cornerstone of most mental health issues and can cause a profound sense of despair, overwhelm and helplessness.

Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, who was a former prisoner of the Second World War in Poland, intimately observed the impact of disempowerment on a person's internal sense of time. The key difference between prisoners of war and prisoners with a defined sentence is the lack of certainty of when the suffering will be over, in addition to no clear path in which a person can choose their behaviour in order to try to make a difference to their circumstances. This is a recipe for extreme helplessness and disempowerment and can in extreme cases cause a person to die.

He recalls a fellow inmate, who was known for his resilience and optimism. During a particularly tough time, where winter was in full steam and the day was beyond comprehension in term of exhaustion, disease, pain, suffering and anguish.  This man prophesied to his friends after a moment of insight that the war would be over by May 31st 1945 and that they would return home to what was left of their families and friends, free to start a new life. The prophecy felt unshakable.  He was committed to this date, this time, this hope, this dream - a new sense of vitality seemed to fill his weakened body and like an elixir, it held his waning health.  May 31st came, then May 31st went.  Within 24 hours, this man became weak and within 48 hours he was dead.

When our circumstances, our lives, our mindset or our health create a prison-like vice around our choices 2 noticeable things occur. The days feel like a death sentence long, arduous, painful, full of suffering, but the weeks and months feel like they fly past. Disempowerment creates an altered sense of time: this is it's distinguishing mental feature.

What is so interesting on the contrary, is that when a person feels empowered in themselves, in their lives, in their autonomy: so too does the sense of time warp again - this time in the opposing direction. Empowerment seems to bring along with it a sense of timelessness, where the deepest feelings of connection bypass the mechanics of time. On retreat, participants often remark how time goes so slowly, yet quickly at the same time. A day on retreat feels fleeting and yet the week feels like a lifetime.

Executive burnout is in some ways a less severe representation of feeling like a prisoner in our own living, and of our own making. We can be a prisoner to debt, to family expectation to a growing business, to a sense of responsibility. By drawing this longbow, extreme circumstances can reveal to those who observe them with intellect, heart and curiosity; a rich and powerful insight into the deeper blocks that can stop us from moving forward.

Executive burnout is real, under-diagnosed, overlooked and often disregarded but like all suffering and discomfort can be a great learning tool to help ourselves reveal a more authentic truth within. Learning to listen to your discomfort can pave a way forward and beyond to emotional maturity and mental growth.

Self-awareness is the key to our own personal sense of empowerment: by recognising a feature such as the distortion of time in our lives reveals to us the depth of what we may be challenged by. By acknowledging that sense of disempowerment we can move towards finding our personal locus of control, supporting the challenging of our own thoughts and working towards strategies of untangling ourselves from responsibilities that may be arduous, debt that maybe onerous and choices that may no longer serve us.

Book an appointment with one of our Psychologists or GPs who can assist you with your mental health concerns.

Posted in: Women's Health Men's Health Health and Well Being Family GP Mental Health  

A new approach to eating disorders and healthy weight management

Posted by Dr Kerrie Salbury on 8 May 2019
A new approach to eating disorders and healthy weight management

Do you think about food, your weight and/or exercise constantly? Do you feel guilty or ashamed after you have eaten or eat differently in private than you do in front of others? If this sounds like you, you are not alone as many people do. This constant thinking or changing behaviour around food and health habits can affect your self esteem, your productivity and can even impact relationships, sleep and result in either anxiety, depression or both. For some people this thinking pattern has become so entrenched that they consider it a normal part of being them.

Over the last 15 years or so, medical research has been focusing on the incredible aspects of brain plasticity. Where as in the past we used to think it was very difficult to change our thinking and behaviour we now know that the brain changes itself on an hour by hour/ minute by minute basis- every thought can change our brain. This has lead to some incredible break throughs in psychological therapy.

Dr Kerrie Salbury has developed a special interest in weight management, emotional eating, eating disorders, body dis-satisfaction and addictive behaviours. Much of the research supports challenging our previously held thinking and adapting a Health at every size (HAES) approach. Over thinking, obsessive thinking and high internal anxiety are common in those suffering from anxiety - so developing new, effective self regulation skills is at the core of psychology to support, facilitate change and enhance lifestyle medicine for future physical and mental health.

Posted in: Health and Well Being Mental Health Eating Disorders  

5 Strategies to Improve Your Body Image

Posted by Dr Kerrie Salbury on 8 May 2019
5 Strategies to Improve Your Body Image
  1. Focus on your positive qualities, skills and talents. Are you funny, artistic, strong, an animal lover, a great cook, singer, writer, artist, caring, dependable?
     
  2. Start saying positive things to yourself daily. Save them as screen savers, plaster them around the house. It's time to end the cycle of verbal abuse- you would talk to people you love this way.
     
  3. Focus on what your body has done. For example, learnt a musical instrument, given birth, danced, played in the rain, climbed trees,  driven a car, cooked, swam, parachuted, gardened, cycled, cleaned, socialised, hugged, laughed.
     
  4. Avoid making body comparisons with others.
     
  5. Cleanse your social media- make a conscious decision about what you read and view. Media images can be unrealistic and only represent a minority of the population.
Posted in: Health and Well Being Mental Health Eating Disorders  

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