Bringing Down Barriers: BRHS Looks to Make Health Services More Accessible for People with Disabilities

BRHS’ new Disability Liaison Officer, April Freely. Photo: Jake Lynch/BRHS

 

Among many other things, the coronavirus pandemic highlighted an urgent need to make sure all East Gippslanders can quickly and easily access the health services and information they need.

This is especially true for people living with a disability, who are often faced with a variety of barriers to accessing health services that other many other people don’t have to worry about.

“These seemingly simple actions are very different experiences for people with a disability, and as a health service we need to make sure they aren’t barriers to getting good care.”

Here at BRHS, we are committed to bringing those barriers down.

And so is our new Disability Liaison Officer, April Freely.

April joined BRHS last month after a long career in a wide variety of health care roles spanning admin and health promotion, to hands-on patient support and care for people with disabilities.

This broad experience has helped April understand what the system sometimes looks like from the perspective of other people.

“How you get around a building, how you understand a sign or brochure, how you find information online – these are all things that many of us take for granted,” April said. “But these seemingly simple actions are very different experiences for people with a disability, and as a health service we need to make sure they aren’t barriers to getting good care.”

April’s role has been funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services as a result of the pressing needs brought to light by the coronavirus pandemic.

But her goal is to make accessibility improvements at the health service that will last well into the future.

“This is an opportunity to highlight both within BRHS and in the wider East Gippsland community the need for disability awareness, and adaptation,” April said.

If you’d like to talk to April about accessibility at BRHS, email april.freely@brhs.com.au or call 5150 3384.