Operating since 2001, the RFDS Field day program was set up with the goal of promoting the benefits of health and wellbeing to people living in remote areas of far north Queensland. Judith Taylor, Health Promotion Officer - RFDS Field Days, explains why these days are crucial to our service.
I've had the privilege of coordinating the program from the RFDS Cairns Base for the past eight years, overseeing the tremendous efforts we put in to delivering health care and information to people where they live. It's important to make sure the information we delver is relevant and worth while, which is why our team consists of a doctor, nurse, mental health professional and a health promotion officer.
These units visit about 18 cattle properties each year, setting up a medical clinic and running health promotion activities covering topics such as first aid, nutrition, mental health, and exercise, among many more.
But just as important as any of the services we provide is the community aspect of the Field Days. People travel up to three hours from neighbouring properties to attend the sessions. And while the medical and health services we provide are invaluable, the rare opportunity for people to get together in a social setting is also highly treasured.
Graphic: Field days
People attending Field Days rely on the RFDS on an ongoing basis for medical support and evacuation, if required. Topics such as burns treatment, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and wound care are routinely delivered, in order to ensure vital first aid treatment is learnt in case of an emergency.
A regular at our Field Days is Robert Raymond. He is a walking, talking case in point of how these events are actively helping people in these remote parts of the State. When Robert's young daughter was bitten by a snake, he was able to take the information he had learnt and apply it while awaiting retrieval by the RFDS.
By keeping calm, and therefore also keeping his daughter and family calm, and knowing he had bandaged and splinted her leg as he had learnt, his daughter was successfully and safely treated by RFDS medical staff.
Emphasising just how important this kind of information is, Robert's sons were also able to deliver the correct first aid treatment when Robert himself was bitten by a snake at a later date.
The actions of the Raymond family are one example of the value of our Field Days, which is proven time and time again by attendees. In future columns I will focus on the other important aspects we cover, such as our mental health sessions and specific activities with children.