KEEPING people at home - that is Janice Berry's number one priority when it comes to her clients, whether they have a small ailment or are approaching their last days.
As the clinical nurse manager at Ozcare Emerald, Janice and her staff deliver community programs including domestic assistance, social support, shopping, personal hygiene and in-house respite.
"I was a hospital-based nurse and I wouldn't do it again. I just think the community is the way to go," Janice said.
"People are very different in their homes to what you see in the hospital, and our main aim is to encourage people to self-caring in their homes and to stay in their homes so they don't have to go into a nursing home."
Their patients are located in Emerald, Blackwater, Dingo, Gindie and Springsure, with the Gemfields being one of their busiest areas.
"A lot of people don't realise the latest statistics," she said.
"There's 80% of elderly single males out there (at the gemfields) aged over 75. They've actually (gone) out there fossicking in the 80s and they've stayed there.
"They've travelled out there with their wife, and they've actually passed on, and they're out there because they love it. They love the quiet bush. They're country people.
"The demographics of Emerald are changing with accommodation and rent. People are starting to move out there. The health needs are increased. We actually try and visit twice a week."
She said it was a tough job that required a special type of person - one with country in their blood.
"You're doing 120km in a trip," she said.
"The issues in these rural areas have always been staffing and travel. In Brisbane I suppose they have their distances or the traffic, and I suppose they do the same time as we do but ours is long, isolated stretches."
She said visiting clients in homes without air-conditioning when it was 36 or 37 degrees was also a factor.
"Visiting people on properties is very different - the other day a pig came to visit me," she said.
But it's an experience she wouldn't trade for the world, even after eight years in the job.
"I just think it's just unreal - I just love the wide open spaces," Janice said.
"The people are so appreciative. Country people are unique. I don't care what any people say - that's how we're different to city folk."
The service is the only one of its kind in Emerald and, of course, is extremely valuable to its clients.
"There is no other community nursing besides us and that's why we're unique here in the Central Highlands," Janice said.
"People are better if you actually go to them. They're frail, aged and disabled."
"We do a lot of the clientele out in isolated areas ... do a weekly visit or a fortnightly visit - check their blood pressure's okay, check they're taking their pills."
With the job comes a lot of confronting things to see, but somehow she and her staff manage to remain positive about everything, even when ultimately the patient passes away.
In one case, they managed to keep a man at his home, unconcious, for two weeks until he died.
"We've had a palliative just recently (with) no running water, unconscious for two weeks," Janice said.
"He was dying. He died at home - we helped the family to maintain him at home. He wanted to stay at home.
"I think it's very rewarding."
"I've had 90-year-olds look after 88 year olds... She said, 'He will die in the bed beside me,' and that's what happened."
And that's where their strength lies.
Ozcare Emerald is moving forward rapidly, offering immunisation services to the mines, and waiting on a brand new building currently in the midst of construction.
But at the heart of it all is Janice's passion for the community and the trust and respect she's built with her clients.