Otway Health – Wrap Around Care

Happy to be home – truer words were never spoken of Peter Gardiner, whose journey from shock illness to recovery at home is a great example of the “wrap around care” that Otway Health provides.

Written by Sally Forrester


Peter Gardiner and his son

Peter and his son John

Photo Credit: Brian Brown

Peter Gardiner is not afraid of hard work and as one of the last remaining live-stock farmers in the area; he is determined and self-driven, qualities that have enabled him to return home just eight months after his life was put on hold. The team from Otway Health was on board and ready to assist Peter through services and programs that he could access close to home, so he endured no more hospitalisation than was absolutely necessary.

In December 2013, Peter suffered a massive stroke, was taken by ambulance to Otway Health for assessment and then transferred by air to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Once there he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, where he stayed for over a week. From there he was transferred to The Geelong Hospital and then at the end of the month, to The MacKellar Centre of Barwon Health to commence neurological rehabilitation.

But Peter desperately wanted to return to Apollo Bay to be closer to his friends, family and much loved farm. Otway Health was there to help make this happen; knowing full well the benefit being close to home would have on Peter’s recovery. Otway Health initiated multi-disciplinary discussions to develop Peter’s care and rehabilitation plan. These discussions spanned the gamut of Otway Health’s services, engaging the Manager Clinical Care, Manager Community Services, Community Care Co-ordinator, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Allied Health Assistants, Welfare Officer and Nurse Unit Manager.   As a result of the detailed and broad care plan developed by Otway Health, Peter was back in ‘The Bay’ by the end of February and he became a temporary resident in our high care Barham Wing.

To start with, Peter required an intense level of care to help with all his mobility and used a wheelchair to get around. Even in these initial stages, being close to home rallied Peter to work hard on his own rehabilitation. The nursing staff at Otway Health were very quickly won over by Peter. Gail Palmer, Manager Clinical Care says that “From the moment he arrived at Otway Health, his positive attitude bought a ray of sunshine to the whole service”.

Within the first week of Peter’s stay at Otway Health he was linked in with the Primary Health Care Team, where he received bells and whistles treatment.

“This is the beauty of Otway Health as a Multi-Purpose Service”, says Anne Rout, Manager Community Services. “We can access and deliver all the services Peter needs right here in Apollo Bay and we can co-ordinate his care. Without this, Peter would have had to stay hospitalised in Geelong far longer, keeping him away from his beloved farm.” Over the next seven months and as Peter’s stay progressed, he received 197 appointments from the Primary Care Team (see fig a). A few months after returning to Otway Health, Peter’s determination saw him moved from the Barham Wing to the more independent living arrangements in the Laura Pengilley Wing. Here, Peter became a firm favorite with the other residents, who cheered him on with every improvement made.

Part of Peter’s initial and ongoing care at Otway Health involved weekly home visits with his very supportive son and daughter, keeping him connected to his farm and former life. Following assistance from Otway Health’s Welfare Worker and Occupational Therapist, Peter was accepted as a client by the National Disability Insurance Scheme and some aspects of his home were modified to support his increased time there.

Five months after coming to Otway Health, Peter was ambulating independently, indoors and out, using a four point stick and the wheel chair was no longer required for short distances. Peter’s determination didn’t let up and eight months after his initial episode, he decided it was time to return home and resume his life. Peter continues to receive support from Otway Health in terms of Primary Health Care but his life is more like it used to be. He is an amazing example of what can be achieved with a positive attitude, a supportive family and the team at Otway Health.


This is true “wrap around care” which occurs seamlessly because at Otway Health all services and practitioners on site work together, for the best outcome of each and every “Peter Gardiner”.


5 thoughts on “Otway Health – Wrap Around Care

  1. Lovely article about a lovely man, thank you Sally. Peter has always been an inspiration and help to many in the Wongarra area. These days he is a great example of positive determination. Good on you Pete, onward and upward.

  2. It’s great to know that we have an organisation like Otway Health in our small community that can give this type of support to people when needed. It would have been so much harder for Peter and his family if these services weren’t available locally. Great story Sally, great work Otway Health!

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