Health programs that really make a difference
Did you know Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) now offers treatment programs for hepatitis C and opiate addiction at Maryborough Hospital?
MDHS Nurse Practitioner Wendy Blanch leads the hepatitis C clinic and opioid replacement therapy program.
She is passionate about improving the quality of life for people living with chronic conditions and has undertaken specialist training to support people struggling with addiction.
“Hepatitis C and opiate addiction are two distinct chronic conditions which can negatively impact an individual’s health and wellbeing.
“However we want people to know that with the right support and treatment, it’s possible to regain your health and improve your quality of life.”
MDHS provides treatment and testing referral for hepatitis C. The common blood-borne virus causes inflammation and damage to the liver.
Many people who live with hepatitis C don’t have any symptoms until they have had the virus for a long time.
By then, there is a lot of liver damage. Without treatment, hepatitis C can cause significant health problems.
Hepatitis C is spread via contact with blood from an infected person, commonly through the use or sharing of injecting equipment.
“The treatment is more than 95* per cent effective at clearing the hepatitis C virus from the body,” said Mrs Blanch.
“Patients who’ve undergone treatment feel better and describe improved energy levels, with an ability to return to exercise,” said Mrs Blanch.
In addition to the hepatitis C program at MDHS, opioid replacement therapy is available to people who want to move away from opiate drug addiction.
“Opioid replacement is a sustainable option for the long term and has a good success rate. It can make a huge difference to health and wellbeing,” said Mrs Blanch.
“There are different drug replacement options, depending on an individual’s situation.”
Mrs Blanch has an extensive background working in pharmacy, mental health, detention facilities and is now one of MDHS’ nurse practitioners.
Nurse practitioners are highly qualified nurses with the expertise to diagnose, treat and prescribe medications to people with a variety of health conditions.
“I take the time to listen, help clients feel safe and offer treatment without any judgement,” she said.
“We often see clients who access multiple services within our facility, with a lot of overlap between the hepatitis C and opioid replacement programs.
“These programs can really make a difference to people’s health,” said Mrs Blanch.
“Our community services team also offers alcohol and drug counselling which can greatly benefit participants.
“It’s great to see people return to a happy place,” she said.
For more information, or to book an appointment at one of the clinics, call 5461 0333. Community members can also complete a self-referral form and send via email to Intake.ComServices@mdhs.vic.gov.au