August 19, 2021

Jo McKenna: Volunteer and Consumer

Jo McKenna started volunteering at Broadmeadows Health Service (now Broadmeadows Hospital) in 2000, and has spent many years on the wards visiting patients, conducting raffles, running activities, talking with clients and keeping people company.

Jo has continued to volunteer at Broadmeadows Hospital two days a week, including more recently supporting patients to navigate Q-Flow when attending outpatient appointments.

In 2011, Jo joined the Consumer Participation Advisory Committee and spent about six years contributing to helping improve access for people with disabilities at Northern Hospital Epping and Broadmeadows Hospital.

In 2015, Jo joined the new Northern Health Consumer Network and continued her journey in giving her expertise to the health service, in how it can best meet the needs of those living with a disability. As a Northern Health consumer, Jo has been involved in the design of the new operating theatres at Broadmeadows Hospital, infrastructure design for the Main Ward Block including access to public spaces, the Intensive Care Unit and disabled toilets, and the Disability Action Plan 2018-2022.

As a Northern Health Consumer in the Disability Working Group, Jo said consumers are an important aspect to the health service, as they bring a different perspective with lived health care experiences.

“I think, especially looking at access to health care from a person living with a disability, we bring different ideas. Being on the Working Group with others living with a disability, we can lean more and give back. There are always new places you go, still a lot of changes to be made. Putting things out there, some things others don’t think about and a need to get things changes for all people experiencing disabilities,” Jo said.

“Quite a few things happen in the group, including the December 2019 celebration of International Disability Day, with the stall at Northern Hospital Epping.”

As a Northern Health consumer in the Disability Working Group, Jo says she “enjoys meeting people and learning more about how Northern Health works.”

Chelsea Simpson, Chair of the Disability Working Group, said, “Jo is also a valuable contributor to the Northern Health Disability Sub-committee, sharing her experiences and insights and together with the other committee members, making tangible improvements for people with disability who access Northern Health.”

Sherrilyn Ballard, Consumer Participation Coordinator, said Jo was very active in every Consumer Participation activity requested of her.

“Jo has every time said ‘yes’. I know for Jo, getting out and about is not effortless, yet she gives so much to Northern Health and always with a beautiful smile,” said Sherrilyn.

In her personal time, Jo enjoys playing wheelchair soccer as goalie with the Springers. Jo also loves participating in chair dancing, Zumba and bowling.

“I like wheelchair soccer. I like Zumba a lot too,” Jo said,

When Jo is not playing sport, she spends time with her 15-year-old Jack Russell cross Terrier named Chance.

“Chance is spoilt and very cheeky,” Jo said.

Featured image: Jo McKenna