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Intouch : In Touch Autumn 2012
14 IN TOUCH AUTUMN 2012 PEOPLE EAR TO THE GROUND WITH MORE THAN 12 MONTHS OF COORDINATING THE NSW DEMENTIA HELPLINE UNDER HER BELT, TERESA FISHER KNOWS WHAT CALLERS WANT TO DISCUSS: DIAGNOSIS, TYPES OF DEMENTIA, PLANNING AHEAD AND SUPPORT. BY CHARLOTTE MITCHELL For more than a year, Teresa Fisher has been working as the coordinator of the National Dementia Helpline in NSW, a telephone counselling, support and information service staffed by both health and allied health professionals with backgrounds in counselling, psychology, nursing or social work. The Helpline assists people across NSW who are experiencing memory loss and dementia, while also providing support for the family and carers of those living with dementia. Approximately 70 per cent of the 9000 calls to the Helpline each year are from family members and carers, and health and aged care professionals also call the Helpline. “Callers are often very distressed when they call in, ” says Teresa. “To begin with, the Helpline counsellors will concentrate on actively listening to the caller’s situation, acknowledging their feelings and concerns. ” People ring in to the Helpline with questions relating to a wide variety of issues including concerns over a loved one’s behaviour, confusion about a diagnosis, inquiries about the different types of dementia, questions about fnancial and legal issues, tips for planning ahead for the future, and information about what support is available to carers who may be feeling overwhelmed. “We also get a lot of calls from members of the general public, asking about how the risk of dementia can be reduced, ” Teresa said. After listening to a caller’s situation, the Helpline counsellor will then discuss the various options available to the caller, which may include the AlzNSW counselling service and early intervention program Living with Memory Loss. Information about external services such as local Aged Care Assessment Teams and dementia advisors is also often provided. Last year, the Helpline conducted a customer satisfaction survey and found that more than 90 per cent of callers were either satisfed or very satisfed with the support and assistance provided by the Helpline. If you would like to talk to a health professional about diagnosis, support services, fnancial or legal issues, planning ahead or any other matter related to dementia care and support, phone the National Dementia Helpline. T: 1800 100 500 Some of the Helpline team at AlzNSW. Left-right: Patrice Teakle, Adriana Karapetian, Lynne Dunbar, Teresa Fisher, Carolyn Virgona and Ann-Maree Codrington.
In Touch Summer 2011-12
In Touch Winter 2012