NSLHD News December 19 2022

Get the latest news from across Northern Sydney Local Health District.


Main story END OF CONSTRUCTION CELEBRATION AT AYAH The Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice (AYAH) will open its doors early next year. Page 6 Short blurb Read more on Page x

Volunteers providing Christmas cheer Page 7

Staff across nslhd enjoy end of year celebrations Page 4


As the end of the year approaches and we look back, we should all feel very proud of what we have achieved. Just days ago, we celebrated the end of the construction of Australia’s first young adult hospice a place for 15 to 24 year olds with life-limiting illnesses which is based at the former Manly Hospital site. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, Local Member for Manly James Griffin and NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce toured the new building ahead of the first patients arriving early next year. Members of the community were also there to celebrate with our staff and got to look inside the new building so everyone could see this impressive home-away-from-home that has been built for young people and their families. This is a great achievement for our district and will be so welcomed by young people and their families who deserve a warm, caring and relaxing environment while they undergo treatment or just need some time away together. There have been so many teams of staff who have made the opening a possibility. As we prepare to welcome our first AYAH patients in February next year, I would like to thank everyone who has worked tremendously hard to have the centre opened and ready in time. We have seen many events return this year, after a hiatus during COVID-19, and it has been wonderful to see the return of the usual end-of-year

festivities around the hospitals with departments, quite literally, decking the halls in the annual Christmas decoration competitions. Royal North Shore Hospital’s music festival has delighted patients and visitors to the hospital and I am pleased to hear so many staff enjoyed the end- of-year staff lunches our hospitals hosted. I feel very proud to be leading this district and I would like to thank everyone for showing me so much support while I have been in the Interim Chief Executive role. As we move into the holiday season, I hope as many of you as possible can take some time to unwind, rest and recharge, surrounded by loved ones. Thank you to those staff who will be working through the holidays to care for our patients, I hope you get some time to be with family and friends. Have a safe and happy festive season and an incredible start to 2023. I look forward to working with you in the New Year!

Lee Gregory I/Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



AYAH staff with current Bear Cottage resident Kamal Sadi and former Bear Cottage resident Matthew Van Hoek celebrating the end of construction at the hospice.

END OF CONSTRUCTION CELEBRATION AT hospice The local Manly community, patients and Northern Sydney Local Health District staff came together last week to celebrate the end of construction of the Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice. The facility is the first of its kind in Australia and will provide respite care, symptom

• Breakout spaces including lounge room, games room, media room, multisensory room, quiet room and sitting rooms • Laundry for families staying overnight • Outdoor balcony off the lounge room with views over the harbour • Garden and landscaping areas, including Lee said the project team had worked closely with Bear Cottage throughout the planning and construction process, with input into the design of the facility, the arts strategy, recruitment and appropriate furniture, fittings and equipment. “The hospice will be important for young people who outgrow Bear Cottage or who are diagnosed with life-limiting conditions as a young adult,” he said. Connecting with country has been an important part of the facility’s development with Aboriginal art throughout the facility and a yarning circle for the use of patients, spaces for outdoor activities • Telehealth consult spaces. their families and carers. The project has kept a strong focus on long-term sustainability initiatives holding a 4-star Green Star equivalent, solar panels on the roof, LED lighting throughout and water capture facilities. The AYAH development has been made possible through generous donations from the community and funding committed by the NSW and Australian governments.

management or end-of-life care to 15 to 24 year-old patients with life-limiting illness when it opens in February next year. NSLHD Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory said the community and staff were excited to see the finished building. “In just a few months we will be welcoming patients and their families from all over NSW – including rural and regional,” Lee said. “The AYAH addresses a critical need in the care sector by providing specialised care for young people, and support for families, including bereavement support and counselling.” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, Local Member for Manly James Griffin MP and NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce toured the new building ahead of the first patients arriving early next year. The facility includes: • Eight bedrooms for patients, each with an ensuite and outdoor balcony • Two carers’ lounges • Two family accommodation units with two bedrooms each • On-site dedicated kitchen and dining room



Mona Vale Hospital staff enjoy the end of year celebrations

Staff at Ryde Hospital enjoy the staff BBQ

end of year celebrations in full swing Staff across the district came together to celebrate another remarkable year of achievements. At Ryde, Mona Vale and Royal North Shore hospitals staff were treated to a barbeque Staff at Hornsby Hospital celebrated the year over gozlemes and gelato.

RNSH staff enjoy the end of year celebrations

Staff at Hornsby Hospital enjoy some gelato

Hornsby Hospital General Manager Simon Hill (center) enjoys the celebrations with staff

RNSH staff enjoy the staff



Spirit of Sydney performing at RNSH

Festival of music bringing joy during festive season Staff, patients and community members came together for the annual Festival of Music at Royal North Shore Hospital. RNSH Stroke Coordinator Susan Day, who helps organise the event with RNSH Director of Corporate Services Amanda Harriss, said it was the hospital’s sixth year running the event.

HealthShare Harmony Team.” Susan thanked all the performers and those who came along in support. “The last few years of the festival have been impacted by COVID-19, so it was special to come back bigger and better this year,” she said. “Thank you for the support of our sound engineer Chris Rollans and for his help with staging.” The event was sponsored by local community member Hudson Du who provided a restored Victorian Steinway baby grand piano and photography by Ray Williams and Marcus Kung.

“It always brings so much joy for patients and their families, and staff and community members,” she said. “This year we had a diverse group of performers ranging from a junior doctor playing the piano, to a local ukulele and harp performer from the community, and the

No Strings Attached performing at RNSH



Dr Lisa Kouladjian O’Donnell and the Kolling’s Lab of Ageing and Pharmacology team

Kolling researcher recognised on the international stage Congratulations to research fellow Dr Lisa Kouladjian O’Donnell who has received a prestigious award for her contribution to pharmacology. Lisa has welcomed the special award, saying it is a tremendous honour.

“I’m very humbled to receive this award. I’m supported by many women in pharmacology and receiving this award also recognises their achievements.” As part of the Kolling Institute’s Laboratory of Ageing and Pharmacology, Lisa drives research to improve the quality use of medicines in older adults. She specifically helps develop digital health interventions to identify high risk medicines. Her main project involves the development and implementation of the Goal-directed Medication review Electronic Decision Support System known as G-MEDSS. Further information about this system to ensure the safe use of medications is available at https://gmedss.com. Sector and disability employment. Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory said the district is always striving to create a safe and inclusive environment for those living with disability. “As part of the NSLHD Disability Inclusion Action Plan, the district is committed to promoting equitable access to high quality services and improving employment opportunities for people with disability,” he said. “We’ve made adjustments to communication, buildings and environment, staff training, clinical services, and recruitment processes in response to the needs of people with disability, which we will continue to do. “I would like to thank everyone for the great work you do in making disability-related adjustments for patients and for colleagues.”

Lisa was presented with the ASCEPT Early Achievement Award for Women during the annual meeting of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists. This year’s event was held in Perth in collaboration with the Australasian Pharmaceutical Sciences Association. For the first time in three years, it attracted clinicians and researchers from across the globe. Lisa’s award is a highly coveted accolade – designed to recognise significant achievement in research in pharmacology or toxicology. It was established to foster gender equality across the field and in future leadership roles.

International Day of People with Disability 2022 International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) was recently celebrated across the district and the theme for 2022 was ‘not all disabilities are visible’.

IDPwD is a United Nations observed day aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability. To celebrate the day, staff members were treated to an online webinar with some distinguished guests to discuss inclusion and participation in the workplace for people with disability. RNSH occupational therapist Elise Kerle, Physical Disability Council of NSW Peer Facilitator and Mentor Adrian O’Malley were on the panel to discuss their lived experiences. The panel also included the Public Service Commission’s Director of Workforce Inclusion and Experience Emilie Priday, who spoke about the NSW Government’s priorities in relation to delivering a World Class Public



Volunteers providing Christmas cheer Market stalls and ward visits are just some of things volunteers are doing to instil some Christmas spirit into hospitals and services across the district.

wards, and spending time fundraising through shops and we stalls, our volunteers really are a shining light across the district.” Members of the community who are interested in volunteering across the district in 2023, are encouraged to contact the numbers below: • Ryde Hospital or RNSH: please email nslhd- volunteers@health.nsw.gov.au with your full name, phone number, email address and which hospital you would like to volunteer with, or call 02 9462 9936. • Hornsby Hospital: Call 02 9477 9459 or email: marie.perkins@health.nsw.gov.au • Mona Vale Hospital: Call 02 9998 6300 • Macquarie Hospital: Call 02 9887 5966

A volunteer who has been hard at work providing crafts and knits for Christmas is RNSH’s Norma. Norma has been volunteering at RNSH for 15 years and said she began volunteering to help make a difference to the community and the hospital. “I love volunteering because it helps other people and puts smiles on faces,” she said. “I’ve been receiving treatment myself at RNSH and the staff have been so good to me. “It makes me very happy that my knitting and crafting goes back to the hospital and helps other people.” Norma said the friendships she has made volunteering is an added benefit to an already rewarding experience. “I’ve made so many friends since I’ve started volunteering, and all of them have been so supportive of me throughout my own health struggles,” she said. I/Chief Executive Lee Gregory thanked volunteers across the district for another great year of support to the community. “On behalf of everyone across the district, I’d like to thank all of our volunteers for another year of wonderful efforts,” he said. “You all provide incredible support to our patients, their families and our staff through everything you do. “From greeting our visitors on arrival, visiting

RNSH volunteer Norma with some of her knitted crafts

Pink Ladies from Ryde Hospital celebrate another year of service



Royal North Shore Hospital Patient Identification Task Force There has been a big push for staff at Royal North Shore Hospital to regularly check patient identification during patients’ hospital stays. To encourage staff to check identification, to be checked are the patient’s name, medical record number and date of birth,” Sophie said.

“We asked for the posters to inform our patients that it is essential to be correctly identified before any procedure, medical examination or medication administration. “There were a number of impressive posters created and the winner – ward 5E – was chosen by a group of patient representatives, so we can be sure the posters will have a great impact.”

Nurse Manager of Division of Surgery and Anaesthesia Sophie Lange asked staff to enter a poster competition with the winning poster to be displayed in the wards to let patients know to expect regular identification checks during their time at hospital. “The three essential pieces of information

(Left to right) Clinical Nurse Educator Rebecca Knox, Leanne Colwell and Gabriel Morrell from ward 5E – winner of the poster ion.



Infant screening service celebrates 20 years The Statewide Infant Screening Hearing Program (SWISH) has recently celebrated 20 years of service across the district.

“The SWISH parent or carer information brochures are provided in English and are now also available in 31 other community languages.”

The service operates at both Royal North Shore and Hornsby hospitals within NSLHD as well as North Shore Private Hospital, The Mater Hospital, Sydney Adventist Hospital and Northern Beaches Hospital. The service uses technology to screen every newborn at each hospital to indentify significant permanent bilateral hearing loss. The purpose of the screen is to enable access to appropriate intervention that will limit the learning and development difficulties associated with hearing impairment, by six months of age. RNSH SWISH manager Houda Taleb said the service plays a big role in helping babies get a great start to life and is able to help parents along the way.

“Being a part of the journey to parenthood with families is very fulfilling,” she said. “We understand the role we play in providing each newborn the best start to life by ensuring they have sufficient hearing for speech and language development.” Houda said the service has continued to grow and improve throughout the years by developing different partnerships as well as the development of further patient information. “The service has progressed with networking and building stronger relationships with other healthcare providers in hospitals and in the community,” she said.

RNSH newborn hearing screener Casey Tsang testing a newborn

Hornsby Hospital Mona Vale HOSPITAL nslhd mhda


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Nurse Practitioner Week celebrations This week, nurse practitioners (NPs)

Harbour presented a poster at the conference detailing the ICU NP model of care at RNSH. “The paper outlines the service model that has been established and the core practice areas of the ICU NPs. It also highlights the sustainability and possible transferability of the model to other intensive care units throughout Australia and New Zealand,” she said The poster was awarded second prize, however, Kelly was awarded first prize for her rapid presentation of the poster. Kelly said it’s important that week’s like Nurse Practitioner Week exist to raise awareness for the essential difference NPs provide to healthcare. “It’s important that weeks like this bring light to the work we do, as well as help shape the future, particularly for Intensive Care where in Australia, the role is very much in its infancy,” she said.

around the Northern Sydney Local Health District are celebrating Nurse Practitioners Week. NP Week is celebrated from 12-18 December every year and this year’s theme is “Nurse Practitioners, the essential difference in healthcare.” Currently there are 24 NPs and 9 Transitional NPs working across the district across specialties such as emergency, palliative care, oncology, neurosciences, diabetes, intensive care, dialysis, burns and wounds, aged care, heart failure, dermatology and drug and alcohol. NPs across the district recognised the week with a celebration of their achievements throughout the year as well as some personal milestones for some practitioners. One of the highlights for NPs across the district this year was attending The Australian College of Nurse Practitioners National conference in October.

RNSH burns & complex wounds NP, Peter Campbell conducted a clinical workshop at the conference, sharing his advanced nursing expertise on burns and wounds. Peter said there were multiple highlights of the conference, but being able to present to fellow NPs was something he won’t forget. “It was also great to be able to meet and share opinions with different health professionals about visions and plans for the future of NPs and the role we play in the health system,” he said. RNSH intensive care unit NP Kelly

Peter Campbell recently conducted a clinical workshop The Australian College of Nurse Practitioners National conference

Thank you for helping us SPread the GOOD neWS throughout 2022

Please continue to share your news and achievements in 2023. Contact the Media and Communications team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



Dr Steve Vernon (right) with Professor Gemma Figtree

New funding to help drive vital research into heart disease Congratulations to RNSH cardiologist and Kolling Institute researcher Dr Steve Vernon who’s been awarded a highly sought- after postdoctoral fellowship by the Heart Foundation. people who are found to have a low or intermediate risk after a traditional heart health check.

Currently, this group is offered counselling to modify their lifestyle, but they’re not offered medications to reduce their risk of heart disease. It’s estimated up to 20 per cent of this group may be at high risk of developing coronary artery disease in their lifetime based on their genetic risk. Dr Vernon plans to use the genetic risk score to identify patients at increased risk so that further investigations can be carried out using a CT scan coronary artery calcium score. This research has the potential to identify a group of people who will benefit from more proactive prevention strategies including targeted medications. “In my clinical practice as an Interventional Cardiologist, patients diagnosed with life- threatening heart attacks or unexpected cardiovascular disease commonly ask ‘why me?’ “Inspired by my patients, this program of research aims to broaden our knowledge base to answer this question, but more importantly, it has the potential to identify people at risk well before they develop symptomatic heart disease so that we can implement effective preventative therapies.”

The fellowship is designed to support talented early career researchers and emerging leaders. Dr Vernon has welcomed the award. “I am delighted to receive this postdoctoral funding from the Heart Foundation as it will allow me to expand upon the work I completed during my PhD studies at the Kolling Institute and the University of Sydney.” Dr Vernon is a clinician researcher working to identify new risk factors and blood markers of early heart disease to help improve risk prediction and prevent heart attacks. The Heart Foundation fellowship will allow Dr Vernon to continue his work with the BioHEART study, which is using advanced imaging, risk factor and blood marker assessments to identify new signs of heart disease. This will be particularly important for people who are susceptible to heart disease, without the traditional risk factors. Dr Vernon will also be working on a study using a new genetic risk score, incorporating thousands of genetic markers, to identify people at risk of heart disease. This study will focus on designing a new pathway using the genetic risk score for




Now that some mosquitoes in NSW carry viruses like the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), it’s important to prevent mozzie bites by taking the steps to protect this summer. Learn more at www.health.nsw.gov.au

December 2022 © NSW Health. SHPN (HP NSW) 221100.

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