The Health News – 27 January 2017

Overview:
• Nurse Elizabeth Bowell has been recognised for her outstanding services she has done at international disaster zones. Ms Bowell said she feels “a little bit embarrassed” by receiving an OAM, but privileged to do the work she does.

• Seniors rights advocates are urging the State Government to act quickly to introduce law reforms that would prevent the financial exploitation of older people and allow the appointment of a public advocate with wide powers of investigation.

• Thelma Bryan, 86 years old, has been practising Yoga for more than 35 years. For the past 26 years, she teaches weekly yoga classes in Cairns Hospital’s Mental Health Unit that brings smile to her yoga students.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  27th of January 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-26/australia-day-honour-list-recipients-recognised/8213226

Nurse Elizabeth Bowell has been recognised for services to nursing, especially for the work she has done with remote Aboriginal communities and at international disasters.

“I’d been to Liberia a couple of times before Ebola, but Ebola stands out — it was just so big and so awful but one of the best missions I did,” Ms Bowell told the ABC.

Ms Bowell said she feels “a little bit embarrassed” by receiving an OAM, but privileged to do the work she does.

Radiation oncologist Professor John Boyages has been honoured as an Officer of the Order of Australia for his work with breast cancer patients.

One of his achievements was setting up screening clinics in lingerie departments in Myer stores.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-25/nsw-government-warned-against-delays-to-elderly-abuse-safeguards/8210652

There are concerns that exploitation and abuse of older people is being allowed to flourish in NSW because the state is delaying introducing safeguards to protect the rights of the elderly.

Seniors rights advocates are urging the State Government to act quickly to introduce law reforms that would prevent the financial exploitation of older people and allow the appointment of a public advocate with wide powers of investigation.

The majority of elder abuse tends to encompass some form of financial abuse, and there is concern that NSW is lagging behind other states in reforming its laws that relate to enduring powers of attorney.

An older person may sign a power of attorney as a measure that helps them manage their affairs when they are unable to do it alone.

The document allows another person to act on behalf of an older person and make legal decisions for them.

Older people who are financially exploited are often unable to recover funds after misuse of a power of attorney, according to the Seniors Rights Service.

Victoria introduced new laws that govern powers of attorney two years ago and the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has suggested a range of measures that would provide greater accountability and safeguards when older people are signing over their rights.

The ALRC is conducting an inquiry into elder abuse at the same time as the Federal Government continues the work of a national working group on the issue.

The NSW Government conducted its own parliamentary committee inquiry on elder abuse in the state.

Two of the key recommendations of that inquiry related to the introduction of a public advocate with wide powers of investigation and the reform to the power of attorney laws.

But the NSW Government has not immediately moved to take up those recommendations.

The NSW Government said it had reaffirmed its commitment to preventing elder abuse in the state, which is estimated to affect as many as 60,000 older people.

The NSW Elder Abuse helpline provides information, support and referrals relating to the abuse of older people living in the community, as well as supporting those who are concerned about an older person.

NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit manager Kerry Marshall said the service is receiving up to 180 calls each month, and the number of calls is increasing.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-25/octogenarian-volunteer-helps-mental-health-patients-with-yoga/8210646?section=good-news

[Thelma Bryan] …has held world swimming records, taught children on three continents and donated thousands of dollars to charity, but yoga draws … [her] brightest smile.

For the past 26 years, the 86-year-old has volunteered her time to teach weekly yoga classes in Cairns Hospital’s Mental Health Unit.

As far as she is concerned, the effects of her teachings are evident on the faces of her students.

“I see them walking out of the room much happier than when they walked in,” Ms Bryan said.

Age is not the only impediment to the octogenarian yogi’s volunteering efforts.

Emphysema and no less than five hip replacements mean she now relies on a motorised tricycle to cover distances that render her walking stick inadequate.

Despite her ailing health, Ms Bryan remains committed to teaching her students the principles of yoga.

While her passion for helping others still burns hot, 45 years of yoga practice has left Ms Bryan very much in tune with her body.

As her age increases and her health declines she decides, each week, if the next class will be her last.

“I’m having remedial physiotherapy and remedial massage once a month just to keep me on my feet,” she said.

“But while I still have something to offer I want to continue.”

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