NSLHD News August 20

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


Main story Short blurb nslhd c vid response and management Find out how the district is responding to the current COVID-19 outbreak and caring for patients as part of NSW Health’s whole-of-system pan e ic response. Read more on Page 3 Read more on Page x

nominations open for 2021 Exceptional people awards Page 5

Researchers tackle one of our biggest health challenges Page 7


Message from the Chief Executive Deb Willcox

As stay-at-home orders continue to restrict our movement and freedoms it is heartening to see vaccination rates surge and members of our staff and community step up to assist others in their time of need. A number of our staff have been redeployed to the Special Health Accommodation sites managed by our colleagues at Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) to provide care to COVID-19 positive patients and those needing to isolate but without appropriate premises. I would like to say a huge thank you to those who have made this transition – your efforts have not gone unnoticed and I am receiving lots of wonderful feedback from our SLHD counterparts. Naturally, there is a lot of caution and questions at the moment, and our district executive is committed to doing whatever it can to ensure to have all the information and support you need. One of those measures includes virtual forums covering a range of COVID-19 questions and concerns, with session arranged for allied health, heads of department, NUMs and MUMs and junior medical officers. The first of these forums was held at Royal North Shore Hospital this week and I sincerely hope they useful to all those who attended. I was joined by members of the district executive team and the clinical advisory group who were able to provide information on a number of topics including leave entitlements, PPE supplies, mask fit testing and our vaccination program.

Dates and times for these forums at our other hospitals and services will be communicated over the next few days so please look out for your invitation. With the current COVID-19 outbreak it is an even more important time for you to provide feedback about your workplace. The Public Service Commission People Matter Employee Survey (PMES) will be live from 23 August until 17 September. The PMES is rolled out across the state every year and is a great tool for us to understand what works well for you here at Northern Sydney Local Health District and also to find out where we can make improvements to your workplace. I encourage you to take the time to complete the survey. It should only take you around 10-15 minutes to complete and all responses are confidential. Finally, as August draws to a close, Steptember is almost officially upon us. The annual event raises money for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and encourages us to get as many steps in as possible. Our district has a proud history in Steptember, competing with corporate giants for the most funds raised Australia wide, while also staying active and healthy in the process. It’s a difficult time for all of us, but perhaps it is time to do something good for ourselves and good for others. To register yourself and your team to take part in this year’s edition, please visit www.steptember.org.au/join- northernsydneylhd Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



nslhd response and management of covid-19: update For intensive care specialist Dr Celia

Bradford, the COVID-19 crisis is the “single most” challenging time in her 20 year career in intensive care. Working in Royal North Shore Hospital’s intensive care unit, Dr Bradford is part of a team of medical specialists who are treating COVID-19 patients, many of them young. Both RNSH and Hornsby Ku-ring-gai hospitals are caring for COVID-19 patients as part of the NSW Health’s whole- of-system pandemic response, supporting the Sydney Health Accommodation (SHA) and western Sydney hospitals which are treating a high volume of patients where community transmission remains high. As part of the NSLHD’s response, the dedicated COVID-19 ward has opened in the Douglas Building at RNSH. With 55 beds, the ward is designed to care for low risk patients who may have COVID-19 or who are transitioning back to their homes or aged care facilities.

(Left to right) Dr Amanda White and Dr Celia Bradford scrubbed ready to put a patient on dialysis

Built last year, the ward supports the acute services where ICU and respiratory departments are treating COVID-19 patients who require extra support. “Patients are consumed by this disease: it takes over every part of their body,” Celia said. Deputy Head of Intensive Care Dr Sarah Wesley encouraged anyone still undecided about vaccination or who hasn’t received theirs to go and do so. “COVID-19 patients are spending a very long time in ICU,” she said.

patients are particularly those who are on life support or some type of breathing machine, they are spending two to four weeks at a minimum with us. “The biggest message from healthcare workers working frontline looking after COVID-19 patients is to get vaccinated as soon as you can.” At Hornsby, the hospital has enacted its COVID-19 plan with its ICU seeing a number of patients with COVID-19. Across the district, nurses and other health professionals have temporarily stepped out of their normal roles to work in the SHA.

“Unlike patients with pneumonia and other

diseases who might spend a few days, our COVID-19

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Technology to support back pain sufferers during pandemic While the COVID-19

pandemic is interrupting access to some healthcare services, an innovative approach may hold the key to support for those with low back pain. and the Kolling Institute have launched a study to measure the effectiveness of a mobile health program which offers self- management strategies via text messages. broader options for care are needed given the large number of people who experience the condition. “Low back pain is the greatest cause of disability Researchers at The University of Sydney Study lead Professor Manuela Ferreira said worldwide, impacting social, family and work activities,” she said. “In Australia, it affects one in six people and is the main reason Australians miss work and retire involuntarily.

“People with low back pain need affordable interventions to help them manage their condition, and this mobile health program provides practical, evidenced-based strategies through text messages. “Text messaging is an easy, accessible and affordable intervention that can empower people with low back pain to better manage their own symptoms. It can be used to support people anywhere, at any time of the day.” Text messaging initiatives have been shown to help people with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. “Our study, named TEXT4myBACK, is assessing two formats of text message interventions, which differ in frequency and content,” Professor Ferreira said.

“Researchers will then measure whether the text messages are improving function and back pain symptoms. Musculoskeletal Australia is supporting the study and CEO Rob Anderson said they’re pleased to be involved. “Most of us have a mobile phone and use it regularly. Receiving text messaging to help manage debilitating low back pain seems like such a simple, yet effective way to help so many Australians in need. We’re excited to be a part of this study and look forward to seeing the outcomes.” The research team is recruiting for the project so if you have low back pain and would like to find out about participating in the study, visit bit. ly/TEXT4myBACK and

complete the pre- screening survey.

Professor Manuela Ferreira



(Left to right) CE Deb Willcox with Ray Araullo and Sandra Barr-Lynch, from Royal North Shore Hospital’s Social Work Department, and Board Chair Trevor Danos. Sandra and Ray won the Healthy Communities award last year.

Nominations open for 2021 Exceptional People Awards Northern Sydney Local

that we recognise the extraordinary contribution of our staff who go above and beyond to provide the very best care to our patients.” There are seven award categories this year: • Healthy Communities • Connected Person- Centre Care • Evidence Based Decision Making • Responsive and

Individual winners, team winners and volunteer winners will be awarded, so if you know an exceptional person, team or volunteer, visit the Exceptional People Awards page to nominate them: https://bit.ly/2VWWaya Nominations can be submitted by NSLHD staff, volunteers and consumer advocates, and also by our patients and consumers. Nominations will close at 5pm on Friday 3 September. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, details will be provided about a formal celebration to announce the winners at a later date.

Health District staff, volunteers, consumer advocates, patients and consumers are being called onto nominate for this year’s Exceptional People Awards. The awards celebrate and formally recognise individual staff members, teams and volunteers who live the true meaning of the CORE values and behaviours charter, to make a difference for the benefit of their colleagues, patients and consumers. Chief Executive Deb Willcox said: “With the current COVID-19 outbreak it is even more important

Adaptable Organisation

• Engaged and

Empowered Workforce

• CORE Values • Leadership


Share your news and achievements. Contact our team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



Be a visible ally this Wear it Purple Day The Northern Sydney Local Health District LGBTQI+

employee network is encouraging staff and the community to pop on some purple and

start a conversation with colleagues and friends this Wear it Purple Day, in line with this year’s theme: Start the conversation…keep it going. Wear it Purple Day will be celebrated across the district on Friday 27 August. It is an initiative that strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+). For Finn Stannard, member of Northern Sydney Local Health District’s Health Promotion Youth Advisory Group, Wear it Purple Day celebrates and brings attention to the conversations about sexuality and mental health that he believes should be discussed daily. “Days like Wear It Purple Day allow for the walls keeping discussions about sexuality, diversity and mental health taboo to come down,” Finn said. “Often it is so much easier to leave things unsaid and unasked rather than risk awkwardness or potential for conflict, however Wear It Purple is a day when opening up and asking about lived experiences

Finn Stannard, member of Northern Sydney Local Health District’s Health Promotion Youth Advisory Group

For Finn, it’s the small yet consistent things that count to creating a supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environment. “Small things like rainbow lanyards, gender neutral pronouns and ‘Welcome Here’ signage will be the things people in need will notice when looking for supportive environments,” Finn said. “Lockdowns have significantly hindered access to supportive environments outside of the home. “If you or somebody you know is looking for information or support, check out QLife, ACON, The Gender Centre and Twenty10 online and telephone services.” Staff are encouraged to get involved in the celebrations – even if working from home. This could be as easy as changing the colour of email fonts to purple for the day or using the Wear it Purple digital meeting room background that can

be pulled from the Wear it Purple website. The LGBTQI+ network invites staff to join its Wear it Purple Day online panel presentation hosted via zoom. The event focus on the importance of LGBTQI+ awareness, inclusion and health initiatives for LGBTQI+ youth. Visit the LGBTQI+ intranet page to find out more: http://intranet.nslhd.health. nsw.gov.au/corpsupport/ The LGBTQI+ network aims to bring together staff who are LGBTQI+ and LGBTQI+ e a workplace culture that respects all diversity and is equally inclusive of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, intersex and gender diverse. For more information or to find out how you can get involved contact NSLHD- ODTeam@health.nsw.gov. au. workforce/strategy/ wplanning/Diversity/ Pages/WIP2021.aspx

and seeking support becomes the norm.”



Researchers tackle one of our biggest health challenges Researchers from the Kolling Institute will support a national project to address the inappropriate pharmacists will work closely with nurses, GPs, residents and their families to provide training

use of medications in residential aged care. The initiative, to be co- ordinated by Monash University’s Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, has been awarded $2 million through the Medical Research Future Fund. It will see pharmacists embedded in residential aged care facilities, so they can implement evidence- based recommendations to improve the use of psychotropic medications in people living with dementia and in aged care. Australian research suggests more than 60 per cent of residents use psychotropic medications, like antidepressants on a regular basis, and more than 90 per cent of residents experience one or more medication-related problems. Through this project,

in managing changed behaviours and to co- ordinate education using evidence-based resources. Kolling researcher Professor Sarah Hilmer, a leading geriatrician and clinical pharmacologist has welcomed the opportunity to be part of the research team. “Importantly, this project will help implement best practice for the vulnerable people living in aged care,” she said. “It’s exciting to work with this multidisciplinary team to improve care in this complex environment.” The project will involve the New South Wales Therapeutic Advisory Group, which is chaired by Sarah. The group will lead the development of quality use of medicines indicators

Professor Sarah Hilmer

for antipsychotics, benzodiazapines and antidepressants. The four-year program will be run in partnership with the University of Queensland, Flinders University, University of Sydney and five aged care providers in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Kolling Institute Neuroscience and Pain Research Showcase The Kolling Institute’s Neuroscience and Pain Research Showcase is taking place on Wednesday 25 August. The showcase provides an The event will feature high profile speakers including Dr Tony Penna from the Office for Health and Medical Research and research-showcase- tickets-164057449247

the Executive Director of Sydney Health Partners Professor Don Nutbeam. Find out more information and register here: https:// www.eventbrite.com. au/e/kolling-institute- neuroscience-and-pain-

opportunity to promote our dedicated researchers and their significant achievements across neuroscience and pain research.



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