Aged care professionals in demand

FRASER Coast health professionals looking to hone their skills in aged care now have the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications locally with the introduction of a new graduate certificate at University of Southern Queensland.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said enrolment applications were now open for the Graduate Certificate in Health (Aged Care), which will be launched at USQ Fraser Coast tomorrow evening, Tuesday December 16.

“Demand for aged care is expected to grow significantly in years to come therefore anyone pursuing further education in that area will place themselves in an ideal position to secure ongoing and/or improved employment,” Professor Thomas said.

Leading not-for-profit organisation OzCare recently announced its plan to build a $30 million aged-care facility with a 150-bed capacity in Hervey Bay next year.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt has also announced an additional 126 residential care packages and 57 home care packages across Hervey Bay, Bargara and Bundaberg.

Mr Pitt said more than 17,800 people would benefit from new places and packages nationally.

“These extra residential and home care places will help meet the growing demand for aged care,” Mr Pitt said.

In October, Mr Pitt told Parliament that between 2013-14 and 2016-17, $1.1 billion would flow to aged-care providers.

“This includes a 2.4 per cent increase on top of normal indexation of care funding for eligible aged-care programs from July this year.

“Aged-care providers in regional, rural and remote areas will receive a $54 million boost in funding through a 20 per cent increase to the viability supplement.

“This funding boost will help improve the capacity of over 950 services in these areas to provide quality aged care.”

Mr Pitt said only 5% of Australians over the age of 65 lived in residential aged care.

“We know that most people want to remain living in their own home for as long as possible, which is why we are increasing the number of home-care packages. There will be an additional 80,000 over the next 10 years.”

Graduate Certificate in Health (Aged Care)

Professor Thomas said USQ’s new Graduate Certificate in Health (Aged Care) was open to registered health professionals who had a passion for working with older people in a variety of settings.

“This certificate is designed to help post-graduate students develop knowledge and expertise in healthy ageing,” she said.

“Strengthening the professional development of health professionals working in related areas of their chosen specialisation, the Graduate Certificate of Health enables graduates to become experts in their field.

“After completing the Graduate Certificate of Health, students have the option to take the credit from their studies and go on to complete the Graduate Diploma of Health or the Master of Health.”

For certificate details and information on how to apply, visit


Photo: USQ head of nursing and midwifery Professor Cath Rogers, executive Dean of health, engineering and sciences Lyn Karstadt, USQ Fraser Coast executive manager Brett Langabeer and senior nursing lecturer Julie Martyn.

Treat yourself to a break this Christmas

With the festive season just around the corner, a celebration of National Psychology Week at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast on Thursday November 13 offered a timely reminder to students and staff about maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

Visiting psychologist Leisa Roder said the Christmas-New Year period was often a high stress period so for anyone already struggling with life balance, it was important they took some time to relax while keeping up with all the pressures.

“It would be great if everyone practiced looking after themselves and used relaxation and self-care strategies such as exercise at least three to four times a week,” Ms Roder said.

USQ psychology lecturer Dr Michelle Adamson said research showed that making sustainable behaviour change was not a one-off decision but a process involving a number of steps.

Those steps involved wanting change, thinking about the benefits, reflecting on the barriers, making an action plan, taking action, building support, rewarding successes and managing any relapses.

Meanwhile, a report conducted by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) found that, for the first time, men have significantly higher levels of wellbeing than women.

Released to launch National Psychology Week (9-15 November) the Stress and Wellbeing in Australia survey 2014 suggested this year was a tougher for women, with the fairer sex reporting significantly higher levels of stress.

More than half (53%) of Australian women cited personal financial issues as a major source of stress, compared to just 44 per cent of men. Correspondingly, more than half (52%) of all women reported family issues as a major source of stress compared to just 38 per cent of men.

The APS provides a free referral service for the general public, GPs and other health professionals who are seeking the advice and assistance of a psychologist at To access detailed advice about managing stress, you may view the APS tip-sheet here.

Photo: Attending the USQ Fraser Coast National Psychology Week breakfast celebration are (l-r) USQ lecturer Dr Michelle Adamson, psychologist Leisa Roder, Judy McLaughlin and Denise Girdlestone.

BEAT IT group discovers USQ’s outdoor gym


Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland tries the headstand trainer in USQ’s outdoor gym, watched by fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and BEAT IT members. Photos: JOCELYN WATTS

LOCAL participants in the Australian Diabetes Council lifestyle program BEAT IT made an exciting discovery recently when they learnt USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym equipment was available to them 24/7, free of charge.

BEAT IT trainer Kim Polglase and Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Robert Garland brought the health and fitness group to USQ’s gym as part of a 12-week program tailored for people living with or at risk of diabetes and other chronic lifestyle-related diseases.

“The group-based program is about creating a supportive environment of people with similar health issues while also introducing them to community fitness facilities that are easily accessible,” Ms Polglase said.

Officially launched in 2010, USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym includes 19 pieces of equipment providing 27 stations, with a soft fall surface and shade sails. After dark, security lights automatically turn on when sensors detect movement in the area.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said the outdoor gym was designed to help students, staff and members of the community get into shape and keep fit.

“Community fitness groups are also welcome to use the outdoor equipment,” Mr Langabeer said.

The gym is located at the Hervey Bay campus, 161 Old Maryborough Road, Pialba, near the city library.

Ms Polglase said the next 12-week BEAT IT program would start in about two weeks.  Classes are run twice weekly, with each class including a combination of aerobic and resistance training exercises.

For more information on BEAT IT visit the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s website at:


Fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland (black singlet) introduce BEAT IT members to USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym.