8 May 2024

RFDS gong recognises contribution of Coen's local health hero Jodi

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Jodi Hamilton

Coen’s Jodi Hamilton is following in her late mother’s footsteps as she supports her community with end-of-life care, and has been recognised as an RFDS Local Hero Award winner. Photo: Supplied.

Coen’s Jodi Hamilton has been crowned the Cairns region winner of the 2024 Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Local Hero Award for her unwavering dedication to remote healthcare accessibility and her work with the RFDS and Coen clinic.

Ms Hamilton said she had been pushing for a palliative and aged care facility in Coen, so that community members could die with dignity at home.

“My mum was a nurse here in Coen for 30 years, and she tried as hard as she could to bring people home to pass away,” she said.

“It’s really hard in these small towns, because when someone falls ill, they need to be taken away for medical treatment and if it’s not successful, they’re not necessarily coming home in time.”

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Ms Hamilton explained that in Coen, without any residential end-of-life care facilities, the only choice was to move to Weipa or Cooktown, where the nearest aged care facilities were, or for family to take the individual in.

Having gone through the overwhelming process herself, she said she was now aiming to provide families with as much information and support as possible regarding end-of-life care.

“It’s something that has happened in Coen for a long time; families have taken on that role,” she said.

“My mum chose to pass away at home, and I think that really helps with the grieving process.

“I just find it really important that if families are in a position to take on that role, that we give them as much advice and services, because I found the process really overwhelming.”

RFDS Queensland chief executive officer Meredith Staib emphasised the extraordinary efforts of this year’s regional winners, including Ms Hamilton.

READ ALSO Emma Jackson named winner of RFDS Queensland Local Hero award

“There are unsung heroes in every region whose remarkable achievements often go unnoticed, yet the impact of their hard work and dedication is felt deeply in their local communities,” Ms Staib said.

“From the quiet achievers to the tireless volunteers and dedicated professionals, each of this year’s winners embodies the spirit of service and compassion, and many have been touched personally by the life-saving interventions of the RFDS, which has helped fuel their commitment to giving back.”

Ms Hamilton said she was humbled to be recognised and encouraged communities to continue their support for the RDFS.

“I sort of feel like I’m trying to follow in my mum’s footsteps, so there’s some big shoes to fill,” she said.

With the regional award achieved, a people’s choice system will be used to determine the state’s overall 2024 Local Hero Award winner, and Cape York and Torres Strait residents are being asked to show their support for Ms Hamilton’s work by voting for her to take top billing.

To throw your support behind Ms Hamilton, visit the RFDS Local Hero Awards website and vote for her as Queensland’s overall local hero winner.

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