Exceptional Nursing Care for Our Community

District Nurse, Sharon Lenehan and Clinet, Mr Bill Clancey
Graduate Nurse, James Owens-Brownbill and Client, Mrs Margaret Whitehead
District Nursing Client, Miss Cath Scott and Niece, Miss Bernadette Kirsch
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
District Nursing within Australia has come a long way since its conception in Melbourne, back in 1885. Almost 130 years ago a group of concerned citizens met to form the ‘Melbourne District Nursing Society’ with the object of looking after disadvantaged sick people at home, with just one nurse in its employ. Victoria was the first State to introduce district nursing in 1885, followed by the rest of Australia between the years 1894 and 1946.

Fast forward to the 21st century and you find that district nursing is now a modern, dynamic profession.  There are District Nursing Services throughout every State and Territory, with home visits to clients within Australia reaching over 1 million in 2012. 

Moyne Health Services (MHS) provides district nursing services to a wide range of townships and farming communities within the Moyne Shire Council area.  These towns include Hawkesdale, Willatook, Warrong, Tarrone, Koroit, Southern Cross, Yangary, Illowa, Killarney, Crossley, Kirkstall, Toolong, Woolsthorpe, Winslow, Yambuk, Port Fairy and Rosebrook.  MHS DNS had 105 admissions to the service in the last financial year and travelled 42,093 kilometres over the same time period.  Similarly, MHS DNS nurses spent a total of 4,059 hours in face to face contact with their clients in the 2012/2013 financial year.

MHS District Nursing Service (DNS) nursing team currently consists of 14 nursing staff, both Registered Nurses and Enrolled Nurses who provide the community with a combined 200+ years of nursing experience between them.   The staff have a wide knowledge base that provides the service with a broad range of experience that includes; Medical nursing, Surgical nursing, Emergency nursing, Haemodialysis nursing, rural nursing, Aged Care nursing, Wound management, Infection Control, Palliative care, Continence Management, District Nursing, Drug & Alcohol Nursing, Agricultural Health and Community Health.

Moyne Health Services mission statement states “to provide an excellent, sustainable, holistic healthcare service”.  As a contemporary Health Care Provider, MHS District Nurses ensure that they constantly evaluate and update their skills and knowledge to deliver a quality, evidence based nursing service.  MHS District Nurses provide excellence in nursing care and are committed to ongoing education and training to ensure MHS District Nurses have an up to date skillset to provide their community and clients with best practice, innovative nursing care. 

Part of the MHS DNS holistic approach is to work in collaboration with many other Health Care providers in the local communities.  These services include GPs, Surgeons, Palliative Care, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapist, Podiatrists and Wound Care Specialists to name a few.  Above all, MHS DNS aims to work in close collaboration with their clients, to develop a care plan that not only addresses the health issues, but also the lifestyle and personal issues faced by clients.  Client input, health needs and lifestyle requirements guide our care and are the basis for MHS DNS care goals. This approach of client centred care is called the ‘Active Service Model’ which places the client at the core of the nurse/client partnership, working together to achieve optimal health outcomes for each individual client.  MHS DNS aims to empower the client to be part of their own health care journey by working jointly with MHS DNS to reach their best possible health and wellbeing results.

As part of the MHS Community Health team, MHS DNS work very closely with all allied health services provided at MHS Port Fairy and Koroit campuses, as well as surrounding districts.  Referrals to these allied health services can be initiated by and are part of MHS DNS suite of services.  Upon discussion with any MHS DNS nursing staff member a referral can be assessed and arranged on behalf of the client.  Referrals to Podiatry, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Dietician, Diabetes Education Nurse, Continence Nurse, Speech Pathology, Planned Activity Groups, Moyne Shire Home Care / Personal Care services, Stoma therapist, DVA resources, Community Care Case Managers, Transport Services, MHS gym and many other allied health services and community services provided by South West Healthcare and other healthcare providers within the region.  MHS DNS delivers a wide variety of nursing care; they include, but are not limited to;

  • Wound care
  • Pathology/specimen collection
  • Medication management and administration
  • Health support and monitoring
  • Chemotherapy support – access device care and maintenance
  • Catheter care.  Continence Management and advice.
  • General nursing assistance and support with acute and/or chronic illness
  • Palliative care and bereavement follow up services
  • Carer support
  • Acute post-operative care, allowing earlier discharge home from the hospital setting
  • Home Oxygen Therapy implementation and ongoing management

Anyone is eligible to access the MHS DNS and referrals can come from a number of sources.

  • Self-referral
  • Family or Carer
  • GP
  • Hospital
  • Other nursing services
  • Other care service providers such as Moyne Shire Council

Above all, MHS DNS is here to provide exceptional, accessible nursing care in the home for all people from the Port Fairy, Koroit and surrounding townships and farming communities.  The convenience of having the District Nurse visit clients in their home is greatly valued by current MHS DNS clients and families alike.

For all information regarding referral to MHS DNS,  please contact MHS Service Access Officers, Katie Howell and Leanne Nield on 03 5568 0198,for friendly, professional advice and assistance.

Testimonials from MHS DNS clients;

Mr Bill Clancey of Koroit states that it is “great to have District Nursing coming to your home.”  Mr Clancey finds the MHS District Nursing Service “convenient and a great service to the Koroit community”.  He also stated that the MHS DNS always “go out of their way to help.”  Mr Clancey believes the Moyne Health Services District Nurses are “caring and cheerful” and always give” 100% attention” to the care they provide him.

Miss Cath Scott of Koroit believes the MHS DNS are interested in healing, and also that they “liaise with each other as a team to get the best possible outcome for health and healing”.  Cath stated that “there is no running around for the District Nurse appointments; they are readily available.”  Furthermore, Miss Scott added that the MHS DNS “make suggestions and give feedback as well as answering any questions you may have.”

Dr Mike Homewood is a retired local Port Fairy GP whom has had the MHS DNS visit for the past year.  Dr Homewood stated he has been “considerably impressed with the courtesy and knowledge of the MHS DNS team.”  And that “I feel that the whole service deserves commendation”.  Dr Homewood feels that “Port Fairy is extremely fortunate to have such an efficient and skilled District Nursing Service.”  Dr Homewood further added that “the great value of this service is that Port Fairy has a considerable number of aged people who would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to visit Heath care centres for services which the District Nursing team render in their homes “and added that “this frees up beds which would have to be used in the hospital.” Dr Homewood feels that the MHS DNS “render a great service as an adjunct to the excellent hospital and the team of dedicated Doctors which we have in the lovely town of Port Fairy.”  Dr Homewood goes on to note that “the service is superbly run by Mary Dempsey”.  Dr Homewood is grateful for the nursing care he has received to his legs ulcers; one of which has “completely healed” and the other that is “99% healed”, this has enabled Dr Homewood to “safely drive my car again”.  And finally, Dr Homewood exclaims that “The State Government seems to have recognized the great quality of the health services in the Moyne Shire by granting such generous funding for the future development of Moyne Health Services.”

Mrs Margaret Whitehead of Port Fairy disclosed that “the District Nursing Service is a wonderful service to the people of Port Fairy that find themselves with health issues.”  Mrs Whitehead went on to express that “it’s great that you can have treatment in your own home.”  Mrs Whitehead further added that “we are very fortunate to have such a lot of caring nurses to look after us.”


Written by; Katie Howell

Contributors; Mary Dempsey, Trudi Baxter, Pauline McGee, Sharon Lenehan, Mandy Straw and James Owens-Brownbill.