Author: Dr Susan Palmer

Annie – parent with cancer

Annie is a parent to two young girls, aged 5 and 9. Her husband died from a car accident 5 years ago leaving her a sole parent. When diagnosed with breast cancer she was overwhelmed with fear at the thought of leaving her children orphaned. Annie had friends around her that had offered to help […]

Sabina – living with depression

Sabina had been struggling with her mental health for a while – but it was an incident at work that triggered her ‘breakdown’ and sent her in to a deep depression. Unable to return to work, Sabina was placed on sick leave. Living alone and struggling to get out of bed in the morning, Sabina’s […]

How family and friends can support a patient after discharge

The support of family and friends can be crucial in helping a patient after hospital discharge. The Gather Group app has incorporated a number of research-based factors that have been identified as key ways family and friends can help, and combined them into a simple and easy to use app. The Gather Group app can […]

Tracey – car accident survivor living alone

Tracey was involved in a serious car accident. After weeks recuperating in hospital, she returned home with her leg in a brace. It was a big brace that ran from the tip of her toes to the base of her hip. Tracey described herself as being “in pretty bad state. I could not weight bear […]

Steven – parent of a child with a disability

I met Steven* while working at a hospital in Brisbane. We met because his young son Andy* had been born with serious health, intellectual and developmental issues. Now 5 years old, Andy was a very sick boy. He could not move, eat or breathe without help and required around the clock care – which was […]

Maggie – husband paralysed in an accident

Maggie’s husband was involved in a hit and run accident on the outskirts of Brisbane. He had many injuries – the most serious was damage to his lower spinal cord that left him paralysed from the chest downwards. He was immediately airlifted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital where he stayed for 2 weeks before being […]

Lisa – carer for elderly parents

Lisa lives in rural Victoria. She is in her mid-50’s, works as a teacher and has three children living at home. Over the past 5 years, she has also been the main carer for her ageing parents who live in the same town. Despite having 4 siblings living close by, Lisa – by default – […]

The essential role of social support in managing depression

One of the more challenging situations for mental health clinicians is working with patients whose poor mental health has sucked from them the motivation or energy to make the behavioural changes required to improve their health. The patient knows what they need to do – but the symptoms of their illness make it almost impossible […]

Care plans: Why are they so hard to stick to?

Research suggests that many people struggle to stick to their care plans. A review of studies on adherence to medical treatments found that adherence rates ranged from 30% to 80% depending on the condition and the treatment plan, with an average adherence rate of 50%. (1) That is not great news for patients whose health […]

Addressing social isolation for both the patient and their carer

Human beings are designed to be social. It has been essential to our survival as a species. Throughout our evolutionary history, humans have lived in groups, and our ability to cooperate and communicate with others has allowed us to accomplish tasks that would have been impossible for us to do alone. Social connection provides us […]

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