NSLHD News November 20

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


caps donated to RNSH cancer centre The wig library welcomed 70 colourful handmade caps for patients .

Read more on Page 5

Celebrating our Mental Health Drug and Alcohol staff Page 10

Hornsby ED Director’s prestigious appointment Page 7


message FROM the Chief executive Deb Willcox

This week NSW Health’s COVID-19 Infection Protection and Control response moved from alert level amber to green following no recent locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the state over 12 consecutive days. The move to green means most staff no longer need to wear a surgical mask when within 1.5 metres of a patient. However mask wearing is still required for staff working in emergency departments and for all staff when attending to patients who have an acute respiratory infection. The move to green also means our much- valued volunteers can return to our hospitals and services providing the support and warmth to our patients that has been so greatly missed. Volunteers are not required to wear a mask unless they belong to the category of ‘vulnerable’, or are located in the emergency department or healthcare setting. We very much look forward to welcoming our volunteers back to our hospitals. Thank you to everyone for remaining vigilant and following all the restrictions and measures in place. You have all made a significant contribution to NSW being green. On Wednesday 18 November we held our second Innovation Awards Pitch for the year. It is an event I always look forward to and the five groups of clinicians who presented did not disappoint. Choosing a winner is always a difficult task, but two projects stood out. The GPS – Nasogastric Tube project received funding to purchase a Cortrak 2 enteral feed system for Royal North Shore Hospital’s neurosurgery ward during the pilot phase. The Cortrak 2 is a bedside unit allowing real-time confirmation of nasogastric tube placement, without the need for a chest x-ray. The second project, ‘Moving from Sick to Sic!’ recovery through group activity and connection, received funding to provide three weekly group activity sessions for young adults with first episode psychosis at Hornsby Hospital’s early psychosis intervention service. Two brave young men and the mum of a young woman who have attended the service told their very personal stories and how exercise made such a difference in their care.

of the Innovation Program so make sure you submit your entries before 28 February 2021. It was with great pleasure that we recently welcomed Claire Harris as NSLHD Director of Nursing and Midwifery (DONM). Claire has been a nurse for more than 35 years and many of you will know her most recently as the Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Royal North Shore Hospital. Claire has a deep love of the profession and I know will provide strong leadership for all of our nurses and midwives. I want to thank and pay tribute to Jenny Nielsen who has been acting in the role for the past eighteen months. Over this time Jenny has led the directorate and the profession continuing the culture of excellence and innovation that exists in NSLHD nurses and midwives. Jenny’s work during the pandemic has been incredible. Jenny and her team have been at the centre of our response- setting up and maintaining our clinics and staffing our screening services at all of our hospitals and services. Jenny’s leadership and care for our community was at an unprecedented level. Jenny’s big heart, generosity and selflessness is to be commended. I know together, Claire and Jenny are going to be a powerful force for nursing, midwifery and for the very best patient care. I am looking forward to joining the NSW Health Nursing and Midwifery Awards 2020. The awards are held to acknowledge the exceptional care and compassion that nurses and midwives provide every day around NSW. Tune into the awards on the NSW Health website on Thursday 26 November. Finally, our Annual Public Meeting is coming up on Friday 27 November at 3:00pm. This year’s theme is “Rising to the challenges of 2020”. We will be sharing the achievements of staff including our response to COVID-19, the bushfires and the White Island volcano disaster. The event will be live streamed and all are welcome to tune in through your computer or mobile via this link https://bit.ly/3oiads1. Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District

Applications are already open for the next round


District and partners united against COVID threat A team of Northern Sydney Local

Health District health professionals have come together as part of a strike force response to the threat of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities. The team, which is available 24/7 should an outbreak occur, has members from across disciplines including infection prevention and control, infectious diseases, public health, aged care outreach, allied health and GPs. One of those leading from the front is geriatrician and member of the Aged Care Rapid Response Team Dr James Hardy. Dr Hardy said the team has been working in conjunction with aged care facilities on comprehensive COVID-19 prevention plans, infection prevention training and the use of personal protective equipment. “In addition to our usual role of providing management at home for acutely unwell older people, our aged care outreach teams ARRT, BRACE and GRACE have been involved in the strikeforce to prepare for COVID-19,” he said. “It’s been a great opportunity to have even closer involvement with our RACFs and make sure everyone is on the same page so we can prevent an outbreak and manage well if one occurs. “While it has been a very busy time, I think it’s improved our confidence that our systems will work well together.” Regular COVID-19 teleconferences and educational webinars are also being hosted in response to the pandemic, which have proved useful for facilities like Calvary Ryde Retirement Community. Calvary Ryde General Manger Joseph Massih said the partnership with the district had proven invaluable for the safety and wellbeing of its residents, from the provision of COVID-19 educational resources, right through to the escalation

Dr James Hardy and Joseph Massih

pathways and mobile COVID-19 swabbing. “While adhering to strict infection prevention and control protocols has always been central to what we do, COVID-19 has really focused us on preparing for optimal outbreak management,” he said. “We know the importance of being able to react quickly and ensure all stakeholders are informed of our COVID-19 response plans and immediate actions. “The strong relationships we have with Government, our staff, local GPs, residents and their families will ensure a safe, transparent and effective response for the safety of our residents and their loved ones should an outbreak occur.” The response has also included working with other agencies like the Sydney North Primary Health Network, NSW Ambulance and local GPs. With this valuable stakeholder input, Calvary Ryde’s COVID-19 Outbreak Prevention and Management Plan continues to be regularly tested and refined.

SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS Share your news and achievements.

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



Staff specialists Lynne Aspinall and Rachel Michie

Lending a helping hand to our border colleagues Some of NSLHD’s emergency specialists

on the hospital. “Our work was much the same as elsewhere - seeing and treating patients, facilitating patient flow, supervising and supporting junior medical staff, providing some bedside teaching and liaising with teams, both within the hospital and from the surrounding peripheral hospitals. “It was very busy, overcrowded and under-resourced but the staff were all excellent and we had very positive feedback from both staff and the patients.”

volunteered to lend a hand to our southern colleagues who have been affected by staff shortages due to border closures. Hornsby Ku-ring-gai and Royal North Shore hospitals’ emergency department staff specialists Lynne Aspinall and Rachel Michie recently headed south for a week to work at Albury Base Hospital. Due to the forced border closures between Victoria and NSW, some staff were unable to travel to work, impacting Intellectual disability champions During Mental Health Month, 16 clinicians from the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol (MHDA) teams became district champions for the care of people with an intellectual disability. People with an intellectual disability can experience a number of barriers when they seek access to mental health services. These barriers include communication, a lack of awareness of mental illness symptoms, complexity associated with assessment and practical aspects of accessing services. The MHDA district champions will form a multidisciplinary, district wide team of peers. Their role will be to provide direction and support to staff to ensure the care of people with an intellectual disability who present to our services. MHDA’s senior project manager Kerry Hides-Pearson said the MHDA service was aiming to increase its capacity to care for people with an intellectual disability and co-occurring mental health

Adam Johnston, Consumer Advisor, MHDA

issues. Before becoming champions, the clinicians attended a workshop which included guest speakers including Adam Johnston, a lawyer who is also an MHDA consumer advisor. All staff can participate in the program and are invited to enrol in the online or (limited) face to face training opportunities being offered via My Health Learning. For more information email Kerry. hidespearson@health.nsw.gov.au or phone 8877 5375.



(Left to right) Nicola Guy, Sharon Frazer and fellow volunteer Karen Cheng, and Business Manager for Radiation Oncology Stephen Brown

CAPS DONATED FOR CANCER PATIENTS Seventy handmade caps have been donated to Royal North Shore Hospital’s wig library at the cancer centre for

Foundation enough for the generous donation. “The caps are really remarkable – the print is colourful and they are really stylish. Patients will appreciate feeling smart and colourful,” she said. “The headwear and wigs from the service allow patients to feel more dignified and confident. It can restore some sense of normality during the challenges of treatment and hair loss.” Tzu Chi Foundation member Sharon Frazer was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and had a bone marrow transplant at Royal North Shore Hospital in 2017. “Wearing a chemo cap provided me with a sense of comfort and security during cancer treatment,” Sharon said. “Colourful and stylish caps really lifted my spirits and helped me feel more confident during treatment. “We will continue to make caps for cancer patients at RNSH to show our support and share love, hope and happiness.” system used by medical imaging is at the end of its life and will be replaced with a new solution. “Medical imaging orders, examinations and results will be processed in the new RIS-PACS system. The RIS-PACS project is building a patient-centred, state-of- the-art solution that will closely integrate with other core clinical systems,” she said. For more information, contact RNSH - Katherine.erdman@health.nsw.gov.au or HKH, Ryde and Mona Vale – Stuart Jiang luolin.jiang@health.nsw.gov.au.

patients experiencing hair loss as a result of medical issues and cancer treatment. Members of the Buddhist charity organisation Tzu Chi Foundation Australia made the colourful caps which are designed for all head shapes and sizes. Northern Sydney Cancer Centre Cansupport Manager Nicola Guy said the wig library looks after 200 to 300 women and some men every year, but there’s many more patients who don’t necessarily want a wig and opt for head wear. “A lot of our patients are not working or have to take time off work during their treatment, so access to wigs and head wear at no cost is a really valuable service for them,” she said. “The availability of beautiful headwear is really important for our patients, supporting their wellbeing and helping them through what is a very difficult time.” Nicola said she can’t thank Tzu Chi enhanced diagnostic services allowing for quick access to images and results, as part of an upgrade in medical imaging across the district. The Radiology Information System and Picture Archiving and Communication System (RIS-PACS) will be rolled out to both Northern Sydney and Central Coast local health districts in April-May 2021. Northern Sydney and Central Coast local health districts’ RIS-PACS Project Change Manager Emily Hodgins said the current

Make way for new enhanced diagnostic services Clinicians will soon have access to



Calling dads-to-be and new dads across NSLHD Northern Sydney Local Health District has rolled out a free text messaging service to help new and expectant dads navigate the challenges of parenthood. The new pilot program, called Focus on New Fathers, sends text messages to dads offering valuable health advice and links to other services to help them understand and connect with their baby and support their partner. The expected date of delivery or date of birth is entered at enrolment to ensure the texts are linked to the developmental stage of the baby. The messages also include regular checks on how the dad is feeling with common challenges such as getting ready for the birth, baby crying, regaining intimacy, or returning to work. This aims to prompt the dad to register how they are doing and maybe get some extra information or help through the links provided in the message. Northern Sydney local resident Jarryd Porter signed up to the program about two months before his partner was due to give birth. Jarryd said the messages are short and sharp and sent at times relevant to your journey. “By putting in the baby’s due date made the text messages feel really personal and reflective of the stage we were at with our baby,” he said. “Useful reminders were sent such as do something special as a couple before the baby is born, as well information on how mum might be feeling at different points. “Once the baby was born, messages came through with information on how to keep the baby safe and healthy.”

Jarryd and his baby

Northern Sydney Local Health District’s Director of Child, Youth and Family Associate Professor Elisabeth Murphy, said the service is all about helping dads to feel confident and supported in their role as a parent. “Often dads are really busy before and after the birth and attending parenting classes can be tricky,” she said. “A subtle stream of tips, information and links to services via mobile phone is proving really useful and a supportive resource for dads.” Men living in Northern Sydney can sign up if they are over the age of 18, their partner is at least 16 weeks pregnant or their baby is younger than six months. The pilot, which is being delivered by the University of Newcastle in partnership with NSW Health, will run over the next year. For more information, and to sign up for the program, visit https://www.health.nsw. gov.au/public/Pages/focus-on-fathers. aspx.

stay up-to-date with NSLHd on social media Facebook

Twitter • /NthSydHealth/ LinkedIn • /northern-sydney-local-health-district/ Instagram • /nthsydhealth/

• /nthsydhealth/ • /RydeHospital/ • /MonaValeHospitalNSW/

• /RoyalNorthShore/ • /HornsbyHospital/ • /NSLHD.MHDA/



new approach to detect frailty A team of researchers led by the Kolling’s Professor Sarah Hilmer has developed a valuable resource to identify frail and vulnerable people in hospital, in an important step towards optimising their care. Frail older adults have a higher risk of experiencing adverse outcomes in hospital such as falls, confusion and malnutrition, and many have longer hospital stays. Professor Hilmer said more than 26,000 people in Northern Sydney are frail, representing a quarter of the population over 70. “Fortunately, frailty can be managed, and in some cases reversed if detected early and provided with the appropriate care,” she said. The frailty tool developed by our team uses existing data from hospital electronic medical records, and does not require clinical staff to fill-out additional forms. Steps are now being taken to automate the process within the medical records system. “The tool can be used to measure the Australian College of Emergency Medicine – as well as a mum of two - will keep Clare busy, but she said she was looking forward to the challenge. Clare will hold the position of president- elect for one year, before stepping in to the position of college president for a two- year term. Dr Skinner said: “I am grateful to have received the endorsement of my colleagues, to represent them and the interests of our wonderful specialty of emergency medicine. “The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced just how important the work of emergency clinicians is, and I am committed to being a strong advocate for our members and trainees and the communities we serve across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Sarita Lo and Professor Sarah Hilmer

prevalence of frailty amongst patients in our hospitals, and this will help ensure that models of care meet their needs. “The patient’s frailty could also be communicated to their general practitioner on discharge to guide their ongoing care in the community. “This important new resource will help with early recognition and appropriate management, leading to better health outcomes and a better quality of life when people go home.” Sarita Lo, the research pharmacist who helped develop the tool said it will help ensure we have adequate support to care for frail older people in hospital, whether it be geriatric medicine expertise, specialist nursing, physiotherapy, a medication review or nutrition advice. Clare was recently seconded to work in the Ministry of Health advising on the health system’s response to COVID-19. Clare has held various positions at the college, most recently the Deputy Chair of the Council of Advocacy, Practice and Partnerships, and Chair of the College’s Mental Health Working Group. She also serves as a member of the College’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Health System Reform Committee, and is a Section Executive member of the College’s Advancing Women in Emergency Section. “I am determined to continue building on the college’s significant efforts and progress in relation to engagement and inclusion; workforce and work practice reform; and health system improvements,” Clare said. “We must continue to advance our important work on mental health, aged care, improved access and outcomes for indigenous peoples, and equitable resourcing of rural and regional emergency care.”

Hornsby ED Director’s prestigious appointment Hornsby Hospital’s Emergency Director Dr Clare Skinner (pictured on the front cover) has been appointed the president of the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand. Juggling her role as head of ED at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital and leading the



Professor Paul Glare. Dr Karen Aubrey and Associate Professor Paul Wrigley

new hope to those with chronic pain Some of the nation’s leading pain experts based on the RNSH campus are set to embark on research which may change the way chronic pain is managed. The program will be carried out by the

Research led by Associate Professor Paul Wrigley will explore providing better support to people with chronic pain in the community, reducing their need for emergency department care. Associate Professor Paul Wrigley said his project ED PainPATH represented a unique opportunity to improve access to essential support. “It will assist people to manage distressing chronic pain through a co-ordinated care program, improving health outcomes and reducing costs,” he said. “Importantly, this initiative could be adopted across the state if it proves successful.” Dr Karin Aubrey welcomed the substantial funding for her research, saying there are currently very few effective medications for ongoing pain. “Chronic pain is challenging to treat and there’s a lot we still don’t understand about what happens in the brain when chronic pain develops,” she said. “If we can gain a better understanding of how long-term pain changes the brain, we will be in a better position to reduce it.” Professor Glare said the team were incredibly grateful to the Ernest Heine Family Foundation for the funding, particularly at this time of economic uncertainty.

team from the Pain Management Research Institute after generous funding from the Ernest Heine Family Foundation. Institute Director Professor Paul Glare said more than $2,820,000 will go towards three projects over the next three years. “Chronic pain affects 20 per cent of the population and one third of people over 65,” he said. “It is the major cause of disability, costing the Australian economy an estimated $73 billion a year. “There’s a pressing need to develop better management strategies, so we’ll be launching these initiatives, which together have the best chance of improving the lives of those living with chronic pain.” The projects include research led by Dr Karin Aubrey and Professor Chris Vaughan to help to develop safer and more effective medications for chronic pain, while research led by Professor Paul Glare and Dr Claire Ashton-James will look to develop digital behavioural interventions to help patients alter their attitudes and behaviour in response to pain, and lower the use of potentially harmful opioid medications.


A few members of the Employee Resource Network for Disability outside Royal North Shore Hospital

nslhd EMPLOYEE-LED GROUP DRIVING FORCE FOR DISABILITY A new employee resource network is creating a collaborative space to amplify the voices of staff with a disability, those who champion these staff, and staff who care for people living with a disability. people together – those with a disability and those in support. “It can sometimes feel a bit isolating, so by having a collaborative approach the

network can come up with ideas to make our workplace more inclusive for people living with a disability.” On 3 December, NSLHD will honour International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD). IDPwD is a United Nations observed day proclaimed in 1992 and is celebrated internationally. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions. The theme this year is “Not all disabilities are visible”. Northern Sydney Cancer Centre Cansupport Manager Nicola Guy said: “Days like IDPwD start important conversations, and reinforce and promote public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability.” To join the Employee Resource Network for Disability, please complete this only survey: https://bit.ly/32XdGmV Health Heart Award for exception care: Jamie Shields, RNSH Join the celebrations and share photos and messages of congratulations and acknowledgment by posting to social media using the official hashtags - #ExceptionalCare and #EINMA2020.

The formation of the Employee Resource Network for Disability was outlined in the district’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Strategy 2020-2022. The network is a voluntary, employee-led group that will meet monthly following its first meeting this month. James Stormon, Director of Northern Beaches Hospital Relationships is the executive sponsor of the network on behalf of the NSLHD Executive. “All staff are welcome to be part of the network – a driving force for access and inclusion,” he said. “We want to learn from people with a lived experience – whether they have a disability or care for someone living with a disability – so we can make it better for them and others.” Ryde Hospital Occupational Therapist Elise Kerle said the network is a great way to bring

NURSING AND MIDWIFERY AWARDS On Thursday 26 November, at 2:00pm, the NSW Health Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards 2020 will be live streamed via the NSW Health website. NSLHD has two finalists: Nursing/Midwifery Team of the Year: Severe injury burns unit at RNSH



World AIDS day This year for World AIDS day on 1 December, NSLHD hospitals and Clinic 16 will release a virtual red ribbon for social media. The geo-located World AIDS Day ribbon is accessible on and near the hospital campus’. Login to Facebook and you will able click on your profile photo and select the ribbon to add to your photo. Pinning the temporary ribbon on your Facebook profile photo will show your online friends how important it is to raise awareness across the world and in the community about HIV and AIDS.

This year’s theme is “Now more than ever!” COVID-19 is no excuse not to learn about HIV. HIV and AIDs still affect many people in our local community. Celebrating our Mental Health Drug and Alcohol staff

There were laughs, tears and plenty of applause at Mental Health Drug and Alcohol’s recent Rewards and Recognition ceremony. Led by MC Julie McCrossin AM, staff enjoyed the annual awards ceremony in a COVID safe way. The event, which rounded out Mental Health Month, paid homage to many workers across the service who have gone above and beyond this year. A video produced for the occasion will be available on social media in the coming weeks.


Annette Penney and Paul Weir in front of the display cabinet at RNSH

Creating culturally safe and welcoming environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Earlier this year the Centre for Aboriginal Health at the Ministry of Health requested all local health districts to complete an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural engagement self-assessment to enable the assessment and ongoing monitoring and reporting of cultural engagement. This important Initiative aligns with a number of requirements in the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. Northern Sydney Local Health District Deputy Director, Aboriginal Health, Paul Weir said the district has taken a collaborative approach with the Aboriginal health service and the clinical governance teams working together to implement cultural engagement self-assessment at all levels of the organisation. “The self-assessment results from across the district indicate focus areas for widespread improvements in the interrelated processes associated with the identification, monitoring and review of people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander origin; and providing culturally safe work environments and health services,” he said. A highlighted area included there being no dedicated space at Royal North Shore Hospital to display Aboriginal health resources and programs.

This prompted National Safety and Quality Health Service Accreditation Manager, Annette Penney, in consultation with the Aboriginal health service, to address this gap. Paul said: “Many small changes across the district such as displaying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and creating a dedicated and visible space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources can be achieved with minimal effort.” “The installation of the display cabinet for the Aboriginal health service may seem like a small step but one in the right direction. “A dedicated display board, in a prominent location, creates a welcoming environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, families and carers who may then feel comfortable in self-identifying their Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Island origin. “This in turn assists NSLHD to improve the holistic health, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in or accessing health services in NSLHD.” Take a look at the Aboriginal Cultural Activities policy to find out how you can create culturally safe and welcoming environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.




NSLHD ' s Workplace Giving charity partner , Dignity aims to empower people e!periencing homelessness . Please join us this Christmas to bring cheer to vulnerable amilies in the community by donating to our hamper drive . 2020 CHRISTMAS HAMPER DRIVE The following items will make a significant difference this Christmas : Men ' s , women ' s and children ' s new summer clothes , sleepwear , undies and socks in assorted si&es . Non - perishable foods such as pasta , pasta sauce , noodles , cereal , rice , spreads , Christmas cake , soft drink , long life milk , coffee , sugar and biscuits .

Please ensure all items are within use by / best before date . Donations can be placed under the Christmas tree . Collections close Friday November 27 2020 .

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online