Hearing Awareness Week – Understanding Hearing Loss

We’d like to help you understand how hearing loss happens.   You’re certainly not the only one with this problem – it affects over three and a half million other Australians.

Whilst as many as one third of the people over the age of 60 experience some form of hearing impairment, it is certainly not a condition confined to later life.   Age isn’t the greatest cause of hearing loss in this country.

There’s no “one type” of hearing loss – the problem is different from different people – the type and degree of loss is quite specific to each individual.

A common misconception is that hearing loss is akin to “turning down the volume”. In actual fact, hearing loss affects frequencies of sound in different ways – as a result, you miss certain parts of the words and conversations.

There are many causes of hearing loss.   Exposure to prolonged, loud noises is a more common cause of hearing loss than age.

Ever-increasing levels of “noise pollution” are a contributing factors in causing hearing loss.   Industrial deafness is frequently caused by long- term exposure to noisy industrial environments.

Noise can do more damage than you may think – and the risk is widespread.   Every day, thousands of Australians expose themselves to noise levels that will inevitably lead to long-term hearing loss.

Prolonged and repeated exposure to lawn mowers, chainsaws, factory machinery, traffic and engine noise – and even loud music – can ultimately cause hearing loss.

Ironically, many people choose not to address their hearing loss for fear of being “perceived” as old.   Yet their symptoms can be substantially improved with a sophisticated hearing solution – making them feel younger and more confident!

The Australian Government recognises the impact that hearing loss can have on the quality of life of Australians. Their Hearing Services Program has been developed and introduced to ensure that all qualifying pensioners and veterans have access to subsidised hearing services. Hearing Life is accredited to provide subsidised hearing services to pensioner and veterans under the Australia Government Hearing Services Program. If you believe you are eligible, Hearing Life will assist you to complete you application for the Office of Hearing.

If you don’t quality under the Australian Government hearing service program, there are still ways to obtain the very latest hearing aids and offset some of the cost.

You first step to better hearing starts now. Call 1300 134 097 to book an appointment.  Or for  more information about your eligibility and service providers contact  the office of hearing services on 1800 500 726 or www.health.gov.au/hear


By Nimi  Daya –   Hearing Life

Diabetes Awareness Week – Fastest Growing Chronic Disease

Diabetes Awareness Week is the 13-19 July.

Infographics.pdf-3 (FINAL)

Type 2 diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease. The idea behind the 2014 National Diabetes Week campaign is to raise awareness of the seriousness and high prevalence of this important disease.

Type 2 Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in the world. Right now almost 250 million people worldwide are affected and this is expected to increase to 380 million by the year 2025. In Australia it is estimated one in four adults has either diabetes or pre-diabetes. So is it possible for us to turn this around?

The answer is yes!

Making some changes to our eating, exercise and sleeping habits can help turn the tide on Type 2 Diabetes.

Because type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease that is more common in people who are overweight and inactive, it makes sense that diet and exercise will help to prevent this condition from occurring in the first place.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s insulin is unable to work properly (a problem called insulin resistance) and/or when the body cannot produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels. The risk is higher in people who are overweight and inactive, and making changes to diet and exercise habits, is the first line of treatment. But most people with type 2 diabetes will need oral medications and possibly insulin over time.

Keeping blood glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible, as well as controlling blood fats and blood pressure will minimise your chances of developing complications such as:

  • heart disease and stroke;
  • eye disease (also called retinopathy);
  • kidney disease (nephropathy);
  • nerve damage, particularly in the legs and feet, which can lead to ulcers and serious foot problems.

People with Type 2 diabetes may not experience any symptoms or may not realise the symptoms they are experiencing are related to diabetes. Some common symptoms of diabetes include:-increased thirst; frequent urination; blurred vision, dizziness and headaches; feeling tired and lethargic; weight gain (type 2 diabetes); irritability and mood swings.

Are you at risk? If you identify with one or more of these symptoms, you are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, so it is important to discuss this with your doctor asap.

It’s easy to put off making lifestyle changes until the time is right, but for many people that time never comes. Start today: get moving; improve your eating habits; especially work on losing that belly; don’t smoke; limit your alcohol intake; and get enough sleep.

For expert dietary advice and support – make an appointment with the Panaceum Accredited Practising Dietitian, Terri Quinlan. Phone 99208151 or Book Online today!Infographics.pdf-6 (FINAL)

Incontinence don’t keep it a secret !

Continence week

The Panaceum Group are joining the continence foundation and raising awareness for continence issues. The Continence Foundation of Australia are doing a lot of work to-do just this , this year’s special project is on pelvic floor awareness in pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. The project initiatives will be launched during World Continence Week, 23-29 June, 2014.

Having a baby makes a woman three times more likely to leak than a woman who hasn’t had one. In fact, one in three women who’ve ever had a baby will wet themselves. In the majority of cases, however, urinary incontinence as a result of pregnancy and childbirth is preventable and treatable.

The importance of reaching out to pregnant women and the health professionals who work with them cannot be underestimated, and the Continence Foundation’s current project aims to do exactly that.

  • Over the next year Midwives will be offered educational courses, focusing on the impact of pregnancy and childbirth on pelvic floor dysfunction and bladder and bowel.
  • The development of The Pregnancy Guide resource, along with a smart phone app to raise awareness of incontinence and pelvic floor muscle exercises among pre and postnatal women.

So check out the Pelvic Floor First App, or go to the www.continence.org.au for more information on everything related to bladder and bowel health.

Locally, pregnant women and women who have had a baby can be assessed for pelvic floor dysfunction by specialist Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist Sally McKenzie located at the University Medical Practice Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays . Make an appointment on 9923 9999 to ensure that you are on the right track and enjoy a healthy pelvic floor for life.




Beating Depression, Beyond Blue In Geraldton

beyond blue

Big blue bus visits Geraldton

At any given time, over two million Australians have anxiety and more than one million live with depression – these are very common conditions. Unfortunately, more than half of those experiencing a mental health condition don’t seek help. A high proportion of people who take their lives have untreated depression. In Australia in 2012, 2535 people died by suicide. This is far too many.

beyondblue recently set off in a big blue bus on an 18-month journey around Australia to encourage and support people everywhere to ‘Take 1 step’ towards having better mental health.

Working with Medicare Locals and other local organisations on the ground, the bus has been in Western Australia since Anzac Day. This week it visits Geraldton – attending the DeadlyDivaZ health day on 4 June and partnering with Midwest Men’s Health, Women’s Health Resource Centre and Mission Australia for a health expo on the Foreshore on Thursday 5 June (10am to 2pm). Goldfields-Midwest Medicare Local have also helped organise events in Mullewa, Kalbarri and Carnarvon.

The big blue bus is all about encouraging people to tune in to their mental health, to open up about common mental health problems and to take action to get support if needed. If we can encourage people to talk openly and take action early, we can reduce the impact of depression and anxiety on individuals, their families and the community.

Don’t forget to visit the bus while it’s in Geraldton. You can also find out more about the journey at www.beyondblue.org.au/take1step

To find out more about beyondblue, including its 24-hour support service, free information resources and online directory of medical and allied health practitioners in mental health, visit www.beyondblue.org.au

Members of the Panaceum Group will be at the foreshore on the 5th June to Support Beyond Blue and the Mental Health provisions in Geraldton, and help break down any barriers to accessing mental health care.

The Goldfields-Midwest Medicare Local and the Panaceum Group is pleased to support the Beyond Blue Roadshow and its visit to our region. Goldfields-Midwest Medicare Local (GMML) will be working alongside Beyond Blue during its visit to provide information to everyone on how to access services for their mental health needs. GMML provides a range of service to support people with mild to moderate mental health issues through the Access to Allied Psychological Supports (ATAPS) program and Mental Health Services Rural and Remote areas program. Both services can be accessed via a referral from a GP.

Goldfields-Midwest Medicare Local is also the lead agency for the Partners In Recovery program which aims to better support people with severe and persistent mental health issues and complex needs. Along with Missions Australia, Hope Community Services, Arafmi WA and Bay of Isles Community Outreach, our Support Facilitators work with clients, their families and carers and support services to ensure the person’s care is coordinated in a way that meets their needs and supports them on their road to recovery. The Partners In Recovery program can be accessed via a self-referral by contacting one of our Support Facilitators or by referral through a support organisation or through a GP.

PAP smears .. why do we have them? by Dr Kate Poland .

cervical_cancer_awareness_5_poster-rae78249a515341ae9627a8c3fcb0cef9_wad_400May is Pap Test Awareness Month and here at Geraldton Medical Group and University Medical Practice,  we are proud to be offering bulk-billing Pap Test Clinics  for women. In view of this I thought it would be a great opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of the Pap test.

The Pap test is a simple test to check for changes to the cells of the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer. A doctor takes a sample of cells from the cervix and puts them onto a glass slide. The slide is examined at the laboratory and the results are available within two weeks.

Most Pap test results are normal. A small number show changes in the cells of the cervix. Most of these changes are due to a minor infection (the Human Papilloma Virus) that clears up on its own. In a small number of cases when changes are not treated, they may turn into cervical cancer. That is why having a Pap test every two years is so important.

The Pap test looks for abnormal changes to the cells of the cervix that could turn into cervical cancer if not treated. It does not test for cervical cancer itself, which is why all women between the ages of 18 and 70 who have ever been sexually active should have a Pap test regardless of any symptoms.  This process of testing the entire population is known as screening and is possible because the cervical cells go through a predictable series of changes before they become cancerous. Treatment at this stage is usually simple and successful. Cervical screening saves more than 1,200 women from cervical cancer each year. No screening test is 100 per cent accurate, but regular Pap tests remain the best way to prevent cervical cancer in all women.

If abnormal cell changes are found, further tests are done depending on the type of change. This may include more frequent Pap tests. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the appropriate treatment. A Pap test can find changes that can lead to the most common type of cervical cancer – squamous cell carcinoma. It is not as good at finding changes that can lead to another type of cancer, adenocarcinoma. However this type of cervical cancer is much less common. It is important to be aware that a Pap test does not check for ovarian cancer or any other types of cancer in the reproductive system. It also does not check for sexually transmitted infections.

There are a number of doctors at GMG with a special interest in women’s health and we look forward to welcoming women at the practice during the month of May to ensure you keep your Pap test up to date.

Post by Dr Kate Poland, Geraldton Medical Group

Below is a link to a You Tube Video from the Cancer Council WA which you may feel is helpful.



“Get your Flu Shot “

get your flu shot


It is that time of year again where Influenza vaccinations become available at GP practices and flu clinics open! This is no different for the Panaceum – with weekly nurse-led influenza clinics running.

Influenza or “the flu” is a highly contagious virus that is spread by droplets – sneezing and coughing or direct contact with these bodily fluids on surfaces. Three types of influenza exist – types A, B and C. Each year the flu vaccine is likely to change to provide coverage to the most dominant strains at the time.

The elderly, those with chronic conditions, the young and pregnant women are more likely to develop complications as a result of having the influenza virus and therefore are encouraged to have the influenza vaccination. It is estimated that roughly 3000 people die from the flu every year. Immunisation of people at risk from the flu is the most important and effective method we have to reduce the number of flu infections and deaths.

Causes of the Flu

As mentioned above – it is highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing or by contact with a surface covered in infected fluids. Family members or others who live in close contact to those affected by chronic medical conditions or those conditions where immunity is reduced – should also consider immunisation to minimise the spread to others.

Symptoms of the Flu

  • High fever, chills and sweating
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • General joint and muscular pains
  • Non-productive cough that can become productive (coughing up sputum)

How are the flu and the common cold different?

  • Cold symptoms only last for a few days, but the flu can last up to a week and in some cases longer
  • The flu usually causes a significantly higher temperature
  • Joint and muscle pains don’t occur with a cold.
  • Colds usually have a runny nose, whereas the is dry.

Complications are common in at risk groups, and can increase the risk or serious complications and death. In a small number of cases the flu can lead to pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, inflammation of the brain or Reye’s syndrome.

Treatment of the Flu

The flu is a virus and therefore CANNOT be treated with Antibiotics. In recent years Antiviral Medications have become available. These medications are only useful and effective if given early after symptom onset. These medications may only reduce symptoms and do not usually prevent them.

Vaccination with the Influenza Vaccine is the primary way to control influenza.

Treating yourself for the Flu

  • Rest until you do not have a fever
  • Keep up your fluids and make sure that you are still going to the toilet regularly
  • If you do get a fever – take paracetamol. For adults this is 1gram of paracetamol up to 4 times a day, 4 hours minimum between doses. For children – dosage is based on weight and it is best to consult the label on the bottle for the most appropriate dose for that weight.
  • Avoid things that cause coughing and sneezing such as dust, fumes, tobacco smoke etc.
  • If you develop difficulty breathing, or your sputum becomes yellow or green – consult your usual GP.

The Influenza Vaccination

Did you know?

  • Influenza causes more deaths per year than road accidents
  • Each year the flu causes more than 18,000 hospitalisations
  • Do you want to be one of these statistics?

Each year a new vaccination against the flu is released based on the most common strains evident in populations across the world. The ideal time for vaccination is NOW – between march and may typically.

The Influenza vaccination does not protect your for life – Annual Re-vaccination is required.

The 2014 vaccination is providing coverage against the following strains:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – Like virus
  • A/Texas/50/ (H3N2) – Like virus
  • B/Massachusetts/2/2012 – Like virus

It does take approximately 10-14 days to develop immunity after vaccination. The National Immunisation Program funds vaccinations for:

  • Those aged 65 and over
  • Children under 5  years
  • Pregnant women
  • Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander People 15years and over
  • People with chronic conditions including: cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory conditions, chronic neurological conditions, disabilities, children on long term asthma therapy, lowered or impaired immunity, diabetics, chronic renal failure

Vaccination in Children

  • There has been a significant amount of ‘bad’ publicity regarding vaccination in children for the flu after significant side effects in children several years ago. This was in regards to the brand ‘BioCSL’. This brand has now band its use in children under 5 years of age.
  • The Panaceum group prides itself on having a policy that outlines our refusal to administer this brand where resources allow. We use Vaxigrip, Fluarix and Influvac brands.
  • Child influenza vaccination for those over the age of 6 months. In the childs first year of having the influenza vaccination – they are required to have two doses 4 weeks apart.
  • If you are interested in having your child vaccinated – please call us to make a booking.

Vaccination in Pregnancy

Vaccination is now safe during all trimesters of pregnancy, however you should consult your GP or Obstetrician prior to having this vaccination done.

Having the vaccination will provide protection for yourself and also for your baby for the 1st 6 months of life.

People who should consider vaccination include:

  • Hospital staff, nursing home staff, carers of those with a chronic disease or carers for homeless people.
  • Those working with children
  • Travelling overseas
  • People working with poultry or pigs

If you are unsure if you meet the criteria for a funded vaccinations – call us at the Panaceum Group to ask a Nurse – Or consult your GP in your next appointment.

If you would like to pay to have your vaccination – the Panaceum can provide this to you for $23.00. these vaccinations can be given to you at one of our nurse-led clinics or can be arranged on your next visit you’re the GP.

How to prevent the spread of the Flu

  • Get your yearly influenza vaccination at The Panaceum Group
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when your cough or sneeze
  • Throw your tissues in a bin lined with a plastic bag.
  • Wash your hand after sneezing and coughing – or consider an alcohol based hand rub.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth so prevent germs from spreading
  • Do not go to work if you are unwell to avoid spreading it to your colleagues
  • Don’t send sick children to school or day-care
  • Approach your workplace about work based vaccination programs.

Information for Employers

Have you considered providing the influenza vaccination to your staff?

It has the following benefits:

  • Protection for clients
  • Protection for your staff
  • Reduced absenteeism

Interested? Contact Melissa@panaceum.com.au

Influenza Services at the Panaceum Group

  • Funded vaccinations for those eligible
  • Private fee-paying vaccinations
  • Nurse led flu clinics
  • External flu clinics for companies and corporate organisations (for more information email Melissa@panaceum.com.au)

Please Contact us at Geraldton Medical Group on (08) 9920 8111 or University Medical Practice on (08) 9923 9999 to book your appointment or make enquiries.

Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness, a Personal Plea!

EpilespyPurple Day for epilepsy is something relatively new for me. After being diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010, it is only now in 2014 that I am aware of Purple Day. Purple day is a grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about Epilepsy. On march 26th of each year people around the world are asked to spread the word about epilepsy. So join me in wearing purple and spreading the word!

Unfortunately in todays society, although advanced in technology…is still not a world advanced enough to remove the stigma associated with epilepsy. Most people are uneducated and unaware of what it means to have a diagnosis of Epilepsy. Epilepsy does not automatically mean that you suffer from a mental illness or that we are any different from the person next to us.

In 2010, I was educating colleagues about febrile seizures in children when I came across information about Temporal Lobe Epilepsy – I begun ticking boxes for symptoms and found that most of the symptoms described the strange sensations and turns I had been having. I approached my GP who refused to do any testing and believed I had an anxiety disorder. He handed be a phamplet and referred me to a psychologist. I went to a second GP who thankfully was more interested and sent me for further testing. Some 18months later, numerous scans including the longest 24hours of my life where I wasn’t allowed to sleep at all prior to a sleep deprived EEG – nothing was pointing to Epilepsy. I then saw an “epileptologist” – I didn’t even know such a profession could exist. I was formally diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy with simple partial seizures in 2012 at the age of 25. My form of epilepsy is just one of roughly 40 types of epilepsy – a type that does not show in tests unless i’m having one at the time.

My case is just one of many, that shows how difficult the diagnosis process is for some people with epilepsy. The trials with medications are sometime grueling. There are restrictions on driving and licences, there are drug interactions, and the risk of simple seizures progressing to complex seizures, as well as the risk of injury if complex seizures are not controlled well.

Epilepsy is more common than MS, Parkinson’s Disease and Cerebral Palsy combined and affects roughly 2% of the population at any one time – equating to 50million people.

Many people are able to outgrow their epilepsy or are in long term remission from seizures. However, for some people Epilepsy can have profound social, physical and psychological consequences.

The cause of epilepsy in most people is unknown, but for most is due to illness, stroke, disease, tumours, injury or birth defects. For me, the exact cause of my epilepsy is unknown and there is no significant history to suggest a reason – making diagnosis that much more difficult.

My reasons for participation in PURPLE DAY are obvious given my diagnosis. However, I am also involved to educate others about epilepsy and also to increase peoples awareness of First Aid for Seizures.

I’m inspired by the work that Epilepsy Association of Western Australia (Inc) do, so I wanted to raise money for them as part of my participation in Purple Day 2014. Please help me help them by giving whatever you can using the ‘GIVE NOW’ button. The more people that know about Epilepsy Association of Western Australia (Inc), the greater their impact, so please also spread the word by sharing my page with your friends and family. Thank you in advance for your generosity, it means a lot!

Donate at:


Thanks for reading!

Nurse Manager, Panaceum Group, Amanda Francis.


How much do you know about Seizures? What would you do if someone had a seizure in front of you?


  • Stay with the person
  • Time seizure
  • Protect from injury especially the head
  • Roll onto side after jerking stops OR immediately if food/fluid/vomit in mouth
  • Observe and monitor breathing
  • Gently reassure until recovered


  • Put anything in the person’s mouth
  • Restrain the person
  • Move person unless in danger


  • You are in any doubt
  • Injury has occurred
  • There is food/fluid/vomit in mouth
  • Seizure occurs in water
  • Person has breathing difficulties after jerking stops
  • Another seizure quickly follows
  • Seizure lasts longer than 5 mins
  • The person is non-responsive for more than 5 mins after the seizure ends

Panaceum Group, Proud Supporters of the Sun City Cinema !

The team from the Panaceum Group have a really hard time trying to work out which organisations we would like to sponsor and support each year, there are so many excellent community events and needs in Geraldton!  The Sun City Cinema is one such organisation, it is a great community event for all the family and we are really proud to be sponsors of this event. After all good health starts with a bit of fun, fresh air and relaxation, and this is just what this outdoor cinema provides !

Exciting News: The Panaceum Group Sun City Cinema will be running a 3 day film and music festival over the ANZAC Day weekend: 24-26th April. With the support of Dome Australia and The Greater City of Geraldton, we will have great local music, a film every night and fireworks on the Saturday. Each night a different theme, all family orientated…..here’s a taster of the filmsSun city cinema:.