I hope we are spreading the word about the professional benefits and satisfaction that are part of working with veterans, because when you work with such a complex group and get the wins, that is very rewarding.”
– Jane Nursey, Director of the Practitioner Support Service, Centenary of Anzac Centre.
Since the Centenary of Anzac Centre Practitioner Support Service began in July 2017, the team has engaged practitioners across Australia to highlight the services and support on offer.
“I don’t know of any other service where a practitioner from anywhere in Australia can access a dedicated group of multi-disciplinary experts, who will come together to talk about the best options around a complex case and pass that back quickly to the provider,” says Jane.
“We can help a practitioner to get in touch with experts to discuss some of the complex problems that veterans present with including family impacts, substance abuse problems, complex psychiatric presentations, pain, anger, medication, difficulties, engaging the veteran in care or to get a GP’s point of view about overall case co-ordination and case management and accessing care pathways ,” says Jane.
“We have experts who can help navigate the services available to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other complex mental health disorders, we can direct practitioners to appropriate training, as well as provide case consultations.”
The Practitioner Support Service has been established to help practitioners supporting veterans and their families with a wide-ranging number of mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and PTSD. Jane says cases can become more complex if clients have also developed substance abuse issues and chronic physical health issues like injuries, metabolic disorders, or heart and sleep disorders that may often accompany long-term mental health problems.
“In veterans’ families, you can sometimes find fractured relationships, and in some cases this can lead to divorce and domestic violence. Living with someone with PTSD can be incredibly stressful – it can affect relationships between partners and between parents and children,” says Jane.
A primary aim of the Practitioner Support Service is to support practitioners in rural and remote Australia, where access to specialist practitioners might be limited. Ensuring that support is available when veterans or their families ask for help is vital. The service can help rural and remote practitioners who might be unfamiliar with working with veterans or who might have few professional supports around them.
“Veterans are typically people who are strong, disciplined, insightful and committed to serving others,” says Jane. “They are keen to address issues and for things to be different, so as a practitioner, if you can help them to move forward, the benefits to them and their families can be really significant and that is incredibly rewarding.”