Caring at home and away
Support at work helps Alexis care for her patients and her son
Sydney Local Health District Aboriginal Liaison Officer Alexis Joseph loves her job but it's only through the support of her family and her colleagues at Canterbury and Concord hospitals that she is able to work.
Alexis coordinates the care of indigenous patients, who are often from regional NSW, when they are treated at either of the two hospitals.
"I love helping people and making sure that they are looked after. Every day is different. I might link a patient to a local GP, put them in contact with a specialist close to home, or let parents know about playgroups for children in their own area," Alexis said.
She works part-time at the hospitals and cares for her youngest child Kane, 8, who has mild autism with a global delay. It means it takes longer for him to reach developmental milestones.
"He knows he's a little different to other people but he doesn't let it hold him back.
"He loves drawing and making-up stories. And reading. When he reads a book, he'll make up his own little stories and pictures about it," Alexis said.
Kane receives extra help in the classroom and attends occupational therapy and speech pathology sessions at school.
Alexis' partner Jay, her mother, mother-in-law, and Kane's three older sisters all play a big role in his day-to-day care.
"Family support is a major part of it for me. If I didn't have support I wouldn't be able to work," Alexis said.
Both Canterbury and Concord hospital managers have been understanding of her family situation ensuring she can remain caring for patients at the hospitals. Her workmates regularly check-up on her.
"If I'm blindsided by a situation they might check with me that I'm okay by sending a text like 'how are things going' if I'm having problems," Alexis said.
Alexis is among about 1400 carers in Sydney Local Health District's workforce. It's estimated there are 53,000 carers in the community within the District's boundaries.
She believes a new online registry designed to support people who care for others will be beneficial for all carers.
CHAT - Carers Health and Thoughts - is a new way for the District to share initiatives, resources and experiences with carers in the local area.
"When you're caring for someone you don't always have time to do your own research. It will link people together and help to build networks and friendships in the community," Alexis said.
For more information, email SLHDemail@example.com