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Date posted: 4 March 2014
Campfires, kangaroo tails, painting and having a yarn are being used to help people who have to come to Alice Springs, Northern Territory (NT) for renal treatment.
Bush clients of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress have told Congress that they miss the familiar people and everyday customs of life in their communities when they come to town.
Suddenly people find themselves living very different lives, spending five hours at a time, three days a week being treated at a renal unit, and often having to stay in a hostel.
Congress decided to run a new program that recognised how isolated renal patients could feel in Alice Springs. The program has different activities for men and women and is designed to create a little bit of home environment for patients at the renal unit.
Six people took part in the first peer support session at the NephroCare Gap Road Dialysis Clinic. Aboriginal Liaison Officer Hamish McDonald said the sessions helped build trust with their clients.
'Once the group was relaxed, sitting around the camp fire, eating kangaroo tail they were able to open up a bit more and we could tell that this made them really happy,' said Mr McDonald. 'It was like they were able to take a little bit of control over their lives again, something that can feel lost when you're undergoing such intense treatment.'
Source: Central Australian Aboriginal Congress