Issue 14
April 19, 2018
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More than tea and toast for seniors

With April being the month of the recent Senior’s Festival and April Falls Day, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network continues to focus on the health and nutrition of our region’s older population.

The theme for this year’s April Falls Day was nutrition and hydration to highlight the importance of how a good, balanced diet can help seniors keep their balance and prevent falls and related injuries.

A poor diet lacking in nutrients can lead to loss of muscle and bone density, increasing the risk of falls and frailty, even impacting on everyday activities such as getting up from a chair.

Eating well can be challenging as some seniors experience difficulties shopping or cooking for themselves and people with dementia who live alone are particularly at risk. Unintentional weight loss can be a sign of malnutrition.

A varied diet along with strength and balance exercises can curb muscle loss or sarcopaenia. A varied diet with an emphasis on lean protein foods such as eggs, fish, lentils and legumes is ideal. Chicken and meats that are easy to chew can also be beneficial. Milky drinks are a good source of protein and calcium which can help preserve bone strength.

For meal support services, quick meal ideas and nutritional information, health professionals can access HealthPathways using the below username and password:
Username: health
Password: w3stern

The Clinical Excellence Commission also have a range of online resources available on their website.

Musculoskeletal health webinar series
Thursday 26th Apr, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Curing hepatitis C in primary care
Tuesday 1st May, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Palliative approach for general practitioners
Tuesday 8th May, 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Basic diabetes education for practice nurses
Tuesday 15th May, 8:00am - 4:00pm

National Advance Care Planning Week

This week is National Advance Care Planning Week and all Australians are encouraged to take charge of their future by speaking to their doctors about advance care planning. The Northern Sydney Primary Health Network has developed a quick guide for health care professionals to assist with patient's advance care planning.

Patients are also being urged to upload a copy of their advance care plan to their My Health Record.

Fast Track to Health weight reduction trial

The Fast Track to Health clinical trial is a 12 month intervention comparing the effect of two dietary patterns on health and wellbeing, weight loss and risk factors for heart disease and diabetes in young people with obesity (13 to 17 year-olds). This trial is National Health and Medical Research Council funded and run by an experienced team at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

For more information contact Katherine Aldwell, Research Dietitian at or 9845 3146.

Mental health services for older people - MoC evaluation

A NSW Health model of care (MoC) was released in January last year to help guide good practice in specialist community older people’s mental health (OPMH) services. GPs are recognised as a key partner of community OPMH services and NSW Ministry of Health is keen to understand if the MoC has impacted integrated care between community OPMH and GPs.

To help understand this, an external evaluation is being conducted. GPs are encouraged to complete a brief online survey which will assist in improving services for older people.

GP Association meetings

The below GP Association meetings are coming up in western Sydney:

Mount Druitt: Challenges in type 2 diabetes, Friday 27th April.

Hills: The doctor as leader in sustainable health care - planetary health, a new paradigm, Wednesday 2nd May.

Blacktown: Treating type 2 diabetes - reducing CV risk, Wednesday 16 May.

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