Carers and patients needed: Royal Perth Hospital Consumer Advisory Council

Petrina Lawrence, engagement director Todd Gogol and deputy executive director Jodie Chamberlain. .  Picture: Andrew Ritchie         www.communitypix.com.au   d443074
Petrina Lawrence, engagement director Todd Gogol and deputy executive director Jodie Chamberlain. . Picture: Andrew Ritchie         www.communitypix.com.au d443074

ROYAL Perth Hospital (RPH) wants recent carers or hospital patients for its Consumer Advisory Council (CAC).

RPH CAC chair Petrina Lawrence said she cared for her mother since she was diagnosed with early onset dementia 16 years ago.

“From a carer’s perspective, coming through and using hospital services, it’s really scary to be separated from the person you’re caring for especially with something like dementia and now we’ve got carer recognition on the database,” Ms Lawrence said.

“When I first came through at the beginning it was like, ‘well, you’re a carer and a family member’ but it was secondary.”

Ms Lawrence said she made a point of joining the council four years ago because she wanted to improve her mother’s experience using emergency services.

“Now with RPH I can see the vision and how it is actually helping, which was why I got on committee and why I stayed on,” she said.

Ms Lawrence said her mother, who is now 78, had a “happy trigger”.

“To this day, even now, she can’t verbalise but as soon as she’s upset I give her chocolate or a hot chocolate and she calms down and that’s the thing people in emergency wouldn’t normally know.”

RPH community engagement director Todd Gogol said RPH hoped for 50-80 council members to sign up.

“In Petrina’s mums’ case, the ‘happy trigger’ means we don’t have to sedate or medicate the patient and that is a big improvement in patient care,” Mr Gogol said.

“Because we’re so immersed in RPH, to get an outside viewpoint is what’s going to transform the hospital and make it better for consumer.”

To express interest in joining the advisory council, visit www.rph.wa.gov.au