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Liaison officers ease stress of hospital stays

Denise Legge and Robert Leach standing together smiling at the DVA workshop on hospital stays.

Denise Legge and Robert Leach were among the attendees at a recent workshop focused on hospital admissions.

For war widow Denise Legge, a recent stay at a private hospital in Canberra was a good experience thanks largely to the assistance she received from the on-site Veteran Liaison Officer (VLO).

Mrs Legge, whose husband Arnold had served in the Air Force, shared her story during a DVA client engagement workshop on 2 May 2018 focused on the topic of hospital admissions.

‘I was especially pleased with the DVA liaison nurse there who was so helpful with making sure that I got what I needed,' Mrs Legge said.

The Canberra resident said she did not have to request the support of the VLO.

'She came to me.'

RAAF veteran Robert Leach, another attendee at the workshop, was also very positive about his hospital visit. While he did not meet the VLO during the overnight stay, he was made aware that the service was available.

'I think I was discharged before that person got to me,' he said.

Mr Leach noted he’d had good service from DVA during a recent visit to the Veterans’ Access Network office in the Department of Human Services service centre in Woden.

‘The lady there was extremely helpful,' he said.

‘She very quickly answered my questions and gave me a folder of information … so I know where to go now.'

Mr Leach and Mrs Legge were among several dozen participants who provided feedback to DVA about their recent hospital stays during the workshop series held in Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide.

The workshop was designed to help DVA better understand the experiences and needs of veterans and their families in relation to hospital admission and discharge and travel arrangements.

Veterans, along with their families and professional carers, are encouraged to request the support of a VLO during a stay at a DVA-contracted private hospital.

The VLO is available in private hospitals and is a hospital staff member who understands the unique needs and entitlements of DVA clients. They will coordinate with hospital staff to enhance the treatment and services provided to veteran patients at pre-admission, during their stay and on discharge.

The VLOs can contact the department to help resolve DVA-specific issues the patient may have.

They can also link the patient with services that DVA can fund or facilitate, such as Veterans’ Home Care, the Rehabilitation Appliances Program, and other health or community services.

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