NSLHD News November 18 2022

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


Main story New mental health online toolkit launched The resource will help people explore, navigate and learn about the voice hearing experience. Page 4 Short blurb Read more on Page x

The trial aiming to reduce impact of spinal cord injuries Page 5

Videos Support a Positive Start to School Page 3


I was so pleased to learn that the district has secured two finalists in this year’s NSW Health Awards. Congratulations to the intensive care unit at Royal North Shore Hospital and Mental Health Drug and Alcohol’s Child and Youth Mental Health Service. The intensive care unit at Royal North Shore Hospital was nominated for the Transforming Patient Experience Award with its project ‘Developing a novel intensive care unit follow-up service for our sickest patients. MHDA’s Child and Youth Mental Health Service were nominated for Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services Award with its project ‘Youth Suicide Response Framework’. These are wonderful, well-deserved achievements, and I wish both teams the best of luck when the winners are announced at the NSW Health Awards on Thursday 1 December 2022. We have been looking very closely at the recently received results from the 2022 People Matters Engagement Survey (PMES). The results were very insightful and addressed some key opportunities for improvement across our district. We are already undertaking actions as a result of the feedback and this will continue into 2023. It’s very pleasing to have received this important feedback which will go a long way to improving the working experience of staff across the district, so I would like to thank the staff again for taking the time to participate. The 2022 Annual Public Meeting is fast approaching, which is one of the highlights of the year for the district. This year the theme will be ‘Virtual Care’ and I am looking forward to highlighting so much of what has been achieved as we review the year and discuss all things virtual care. The panel discussion with medical and nursing staff and a consumer will give some great insights into

the role virtual care has played throughout the last couple of years and its place in healthcare delivery into the future. For those who can’t attend in person, the meeting will be available online from 3-4 pm on Friday 2 December at the following link: https:// bit.ly/NSLHD-APM-2022 NSLHD will soon be taking part in the United Nations initiative 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The campaign aims to challenge violence against women and girls and runs every year from 25 November - the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - to 10 December - Human Rights Day. As health workers, we have professional and legal responsibilities to promote the health, safety, welfare, and wellbeing of children and young people and to provide a health response to women and girls experiencing violence. As an employer, the district is also committed to providing every support to any of our staff who may themselves be affected by domestic and family violence. Over the 16 days, I encourage all staff, particularly managers, to become more skilled and aware of how to support staff experiencing domestic violence. You can do this by becoming more familiar with the policies or logging into My Health Learning to access the training available. Please see the intranet bulletin board for more details on the activities we will be holding during the campaign.

Lee Gregory I/Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



Occupational Therapist Robyn Potts and Physiotherapist Joanna Miller from the Child Youth and Family team getting ready for their turn in the hot seat.

Videos Support a Positive Start to School Northern Sydney parents, carers, early childhood educators and primary school

said they wanted parents to place more emphasis on these practical and essential skills prior to school, than on academics skills. Two specific video series have been developed. The first supports teachers and early childhood educators integrate practical activities into the classroom, while the second is for parents and carers to support their child develop the skills. “This is a really engaging and informative resource that supports the NSW Health Eating and Active Living strategy by empowering the viewer to get their kids active, and also be active themselves.” Paul Klarenaar, Director NSLHD Population and Planetary Health said. “While the videos are targeted to teachers, educators, parents and carers, we encourage all health professionals working with children aged 4 – 6 years to share these videos with their clients and community groups. For more information on the Supporting the Transition to school video series, visit: https://nshp.com.au/TransitionToSchool, email NSLHD-LifeLifeWellatSchool@health. nsw.gov.au or phone 9388 5390.

teachers have a new resource to call upon to help them support children have a positive start to school. The Supporting the Transition to School video series was developed by NSLHD’s Population Health Promotion team, with expert contribution from the district’s Child, Youth and Family Health Service. “The transition from home or childcare to school is a very important period in a child’s development,” explained Lauren McClean, School Years Program Manager. “By ensuring they have well-developed physical, emotional and social skills, like those covered in the videos, kids can flourish in the new learning environment. “Therefore, the videos are designed to be used in the lead up to and throughout a child’s first year of kindergarten.” The focus of the videos was informed through consultation with local teachers, who identified a need to improve children’s preparedness for school particularly around movement, self-management and interpersonal skills. Feedback from teachers

Hornsby Hospital Mona Vale HOSPITAL nslhd mhda


stay up to date with Nslhd on social media






New mental health online toolkit launched A new online toolkit supporting mental health recovery and wellbeing was recently launched at Macquarie Hospital. Let’s Talk About Voices is an online toolkit which features a series of videos and

Lyndal Sherwin, Kirralee Hall, Dr Stephanie Bradstock, consumers, peer workers and all the creative teams.” Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory said the toolkit is a great reflection of NSLHD’s values and is a great example of our how NSLHD innovation grants can make a difference across the district. “This toolkit closely aligns with NSLHD’s values and mission of delivering excellent healthcare and wellbeing,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see the innovation grants progress to help bring incredible projects like this to fruition a truly valuable resource for our consumers.” The online toolkit can be found at: www. nslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/hearingvoices/ Pages/default.aspx

worksheets to help people explore, navigate and learn about the voice hearing experience. A total of seven videos and worksheets were developed by the NSLHD Specialist Rehabilitation Service over a period of three years. Senior Specialist Rehabilitation Clinician Haylee Zink, who worked on the development of the toolkit, said the toolkit will enable consumers to improve the relationship with their voices and develop strategies for coping with them. “The vision of the project was to make psychological approaches that support the voice hearing experience more readily available and accessible to all,” she said. “This online toolkit is targeted towards voice hearers who wish to further explore their experiences and opportunities to manage these, as well as supporting workers, families and carers. “It moves us beyond a medical model and symptom reduction approach as the toolkit supports one to better understand, make sense of and live with voices.” Haylee said the toolkit was developed in line with the NSLHD Mental Health Drug and Alcohol (MHDA) Declaration and Statement of Intention, which states that the service will ‘strive to support each person’s unique journey of recovery in a humane way that fosters hope, purpose and resilience.’ “As we continually work towards the NSLHD MHDA Declaration and Statement of Intention, we are hopeful that this resource is a practical, tangible example of meaningful action and change,” she said. “I would like to thank everyone who was involved in helping bring this to life -

xxxx Senior Specialist Rehabilitation Clinician Haylee Zink and Rehabilitation Coordinator Maddie Migdoll at the launch of the toolkit.



new trial aims to reduce impact of spinal cord injuries A simple yet smart approach may hold the key to greatly improved health for those with life-changing spinal cord injuries. “Yoga enthusiasts have long used rhythmic breathing to achieve tranquillity of the mind, and we now know that the way we

breathe regulates our nervous system, in turn affecting our blood pressure and our ability to recover from stress. “Our study aims to determine if rhythmic breathing can help people with a disrupted nervous system as a result of their spinal cord injury. It will assess whether the breathing and importantly, the feedback of heart function can improve the functioning of the nervous system. “A disrupted nervous system can be likened to a car without brakes, with limited moderation of the effects of the nervous system.” The researchers approach will involve a specific type of breathing to regulate heart function to a point where it influences neural function and the autonomic nervous system. Ashley said the hope is this will in turn deliver wide ranging benefits for the brain, the gut, the heart, sleep and a host of other physical functions. “We are keen for at least 100 people to join our study and potentially help establish a new and effective, evidenced-based approach to care,” he said. How to participate in the trial: Researchers are now recruiting for the study and are encouraging those interested in taking part to contact them. Please email smart.trial@sydney.edu.au or call 0420 378 157

Researchers from the Kolling Institute’s John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research are launching a project to assess whether a specific breathing technique can improve many of the challenges faced by people with a spinal cord injury, like chronic pain, life threatening unstable blood pressure, fatigue and poor mood. The Spinal cord injury, Mind and HeART or (SMART) study has been made possible by $3 million in combined funding from NSW Health and the University of Sydney. The research project, to be run at RNSH, will see participants allocated to two groups. One group will continue with their usual care, while the other will undergo a 10- week specialised program involving guided breathing practice using computer feedback of heart rate function, and psychological strategies like mindfulness and visualisation techniques. Study lead Professor Ashley Craig is looking forward to the unique project, with more than 300 adults suffering a spinal cord injury in NSW every year. “Spinal cord injuries can have a devastating impact, with a broad range of short and long- term health issues, including some which can be life-threatening like unstable blood pressure,” said Ashley. “Clinicians currently rely on a host of pain management and treatment approaches, but our team is keen to measure the benefits of this innovative breathing technique to determine if it could be an effective addition to existing treatment strategies.

Professor Ashley Craig (Back row second from right) with the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research team.



Highlighting the importance of lived experience First-hand experience at a young age taught Dr Jo River

the wisdom that comes from their lived experience,” they said. “However, it was these capacities and strengths that have supported my brother to live a meaningful life. “My relationship with him inspired me to consider and connect with people’s lived experiences. To think about how we build research knowledge that draws on the expertise of consumers and carers, as well as the expertise of clinicians and academics. “I really want to support clinicians and researchers to be able to recognise the value of people’s lives and experiences and how these can contribute to the development of research- informed services that help our most marginalised communities.” In 2021 Jo was awarded the Distilling Research Impact Award at Sydney’s University of Technology for participatory research initiating and supporting various co-designed research projects to improve health and wellbeing for consumers. “There are many amazing practitioners and researchers around the district who are trying to make positive reading time over the two week read-a-thon, finishing in second place out of 55 Australian and international hospitals. RNSH NICU Discharge Coordinator Carmel Pearsall has been organising the event

changes through their work,” Jo said. “I have been warmly welcome from the district Executive, the MHDA team and everyone I have met so far. “It’s a privilege to be here.” Jo welcomes links with researchers keen to work in collaboration with people with lived experience using co-design and co-production research approaches. Jo can be emailed at Jo.River@uts. edu.au for further discussion.

how ‘lived experience’ can help drive vital research for marginalised communities – expertise Jo is now keen to share across the district. Jo has joined NSLHD as the Conjoint Associate Professor, Mental Health Drug and Alcohol (MHDA) Nursing, working to make a positive impact on MHDA consumer/ carer well-being and

experience of services. A social scientist with expertise in community development and participatory research in mental health, drug and alcohol and social

determinants of health, Jo has also been internationally recognised for mental health research. Jo said the experience of growing up with a younger brother with an intellectual disability from childhood had motivated them to improve services for people with lived experience. “Seeing his life trajectory made me realise how people and services often see a disability as a deficit, rather than seeing the person and their capacities, strengths and

Dr Jo River

RNSH NICU win in Little Readers Read-a-thon RNSH’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) came second in the most books read category in this year’s Little Readers Read-a-thon.

at the NICU for the last four years and said year was an excellent result. “I am so proud of all our parents in the NICU for getting involved,” she said. “We won 40 new books, which have been added to our NICU library so more parents can get involved in reading to their baby. “Reading to your baby in the NICU provides bonding time, reduces some of the stress associated with being in the NICU and supports your baby’s brain development.” Life’s Little Treasures Foundation run the read-a- thon over a two week period in September every year.

Parents at RNSH NICU read 188 books and documented more than 1800 minutes of

Carmel Pearsall at the NICU’s book



Award-winning trial involving RNSH cancer patients Three overseas scientists

daily for the next five days, providing up to 12 times the dose they could usually safely accept.

by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

using a technique pioneered at RNSH have received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their work in the field of ‘Click Chemistry’. The science behind the treatment allows the administration of much higher doses of drugs than usual to destroy cancerous tumours in patients without the usual side effects. A trial of the treatment, led by biotech company Shasqi, has run at three sites in Australia, including RNSH’s Northern Sydney Cancer Centre (NSCC). A/Prof Alex Guminski, Medical Oncologist at RNSH and the University of Sydney’s Northern Clinical School, said it was a potentially “exciting” development for cancer treatment. “The problem with cancer drugs is that the necessary dose that shrinks cancers is often close to the limit of what a patient can accept safely,” Alex said. “Click chemistry treatment allows the drug to be ‘active’ in the tumour, rather than the whole body, without the usual ‘toxic’ effects of chemotherapy. “It’s very exciting science.” Three NSCC patients were among participants in the trial of the treatment, which Alex said is hoped will eventually work alongside other cancer treatments such as immunotherapy. Patients were selected according to strict eligibility criteria, including that their cancers were advanced and not successfully responding to other treatment. The patient’s tumour was

“It’s nice to have contributed to this recognition,” Alex said. “More importantly for us, it also shows the importance of trials for providing more pathways where we can potentially improve treatment and bring opportunities to our local patients.” Alex thanked everyone at RNSH, especially the oncology clinical trials staff and Interventional Radiologist Dr Richard Maher and his team, for supporting the trial.

The patients reported less side effects such as

nausea compared to usual treatments, while Alex said pre-clinical work suggested the treatment may help break down other tumours in the patient’s body, even when only aimed at a single one. The scientists - Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and Barry Sharpless - recently received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, which is awarded

(clockwise from top) Clinical Research Coordinator Sarah Mearns, Oncology Clinical Trials Manager Sally McCowatt, Clinical Research Co-ordinator Erin Mander and A/Prof Medical Oncologist Alex Guminski

directly injected with a material on the first day

and then the chemotherapy precursor was given via a drip



Cardiac Supportive Care Transitional Nurse Practitioner Kelly Hanvey

Bridging the gap for cardiology patients After working to provide best possible palliative care for the district’s cardiology patients, Kelly Hanvey is looking forward to sharing her ideas statewide. The NSLHD cardiac supportive care

of experience and based at RNSH, Kelly provides outpatient clinics or home visits to patients and offers advice and information on self-managing their conditions and link with other appropriate services. As well as improving quality of life and symptom control for patients, her role includes initiation of advanced care planning and psychosocial support. “A big part of the role is giving patients the tools to recognise any deterioration in their conditions,” Kelly said. “It’s also about giving families the information they need to help improve the quality of life for patients. “It is a challenging role but very rewarding as you have many moments that reaffirm you are helping people to lead their best life.” Kelly recently presented information on the service at the Biennial Palliative Care Conference on the NSW Central Coast. The event coverered various issues, including how technology, collaboration, communities, environment and policy will change engagement in end of life care more broadly. Kelly considers referrals from various sources, including acute care, specialists, GPs, the public and self-referrals. Anyone needing more information should contact Kelly on 0427 312 302 between 8am-4.30pm (Monday-Thursday).

transitional nurse practitioner is attending the forthcoming Palliative Care Biennial Conference in NSW, which aims to shape to future of palliative care across the state and Australia. For about the last two years, Kelly has helped bridge the gap between cardiology and palliative care and ensure the district’s patients with advanced chronic cardiac failure and their families receive the best possible support and information. “There are heart failure nurses and specialists in NSW, but not many that are linked to palliative care,” she said. “The role is an enhancement of the current services for patients with chronic heart failure. “We’ve learned it can be beneficial for patients with multiple symptoms and life- limiting conditions that supportive and palliative care can improve their quality of life. “It was recognised that patients in the community needed this extra support. It will be great to tell others (at the conference) how we have introduced this new model of care in the district.” A cardiac nurse with more than 20 years



The oral health service breaking language barriers A telehealth system introduced by NSLHD Oral In addition, many other clinical services in NSLHD have adopted video

technology continues to be a learning process, we are delighted with how this is progressing.” NSLHD Multicultural Health Service Manager Cathy Butler said the introduction of video interpreting had been very timely. “Many consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have provided feedback on the need to improve the utilisation of health care interpreters in health services,” she said. “Improving access to health care interpreting services is also an objective in the NSLHD Strategic Plan. “It is important staff and consumers work together to ensure our services are culturally welcoming, safe and responsive to the diverse needs of our community.”

Health Services (OHS) is helping ensure non-

interpreting, which is now available in 66 languages. The NSLHD virtual care team and HCIS work closely with services to enable access to the video interpreting service. The number of video interpreting sessions in NSLHD increased from 199 sessions in 2020 to 1,070 sessions in 2021. In 2022 more than 2000 sessions have already occurred. “Many of our culturally and linguistically diverse patients use apps like Zoom and WhatsApp to contact their relatives overseas, so using ‘online’ communication isn’t foreign to them,” WSLHD HCIS Manager Gordana Vasic said. “There’s a saying, ‘you should never waste a crisis’. Although it’s been challenging and using

English speaking patients receive best possible dental treatment. With assistance from the district’s virtual care team, the NSLHD OHS partnered with the Western Sydney Interpreter Service (HCIS) to ensure interpreters could ‘attend’ appointments remotely via a virtual platform. The program was introduced during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued to largely replace in-person attendance by interpreters, who would sometimes be delayed due to the volume of appointments and travel times. NSLHD OHS Business Manager Anju Sharma said the system was proving popular with everyone involved. “It has worked fabulously Local Health District (WSLHD) Health Care well,” she said. “Patients have said they like that someone is on time, and the clinicians have embraced it too. “We can save 10-15 minutes on many appointments, and we see the benefits in both time and cost-saving measures.” The video interpreting service allows interpreters to join appointments via the myVirtualCare platform and interpret important information for patients about their treatment when needed. Prior to the pandemic, interpreters would mainly attend appointments in person. As WSLHD HCIS covers three districts, interpreters had to travel extensively to appointments, resulting in interpreters being occasionally delayed. One of the advantages of video interpreting is the increased availability of and faster access to interpreters.

NSLHD OHS Business Manager Anju Sharma



DIGITAL PLAY SPACE FOR KIDS AT RNSH emergency department When physical toys were removed from Innovation Program grant and by the RNSH Executive Unit.

RNSH’s emergency department (ED) during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff came up with an innovative digital solution for entertaining children who were visiting: an interactive digital play space. The new space has a projector that creates a digital floor for children to play and interact with. The projected images on the floor respond to movement, with children able to kick soccer balls, pop bubbles, and make splashes in a goldfish filled pond on the floor. RNSH ED Clinical Nurse Consultant Alison Partyka said the projector uses software programs to provide an extensive range of digital effects using static imagery and video. “The technology allows children to play in a digital world that appeals to their senses and emotions in what can often be a stressful and foreign environment in ED,” she said. A second ceiling projector has been installed in a treatment room, and Alison said this provides a distraction to children undergoing minor procedures. “We can see how popular the projectors are, and children and parents have provided great feedback,” she said. The technology was funded by an NSLHD

ED Clinical Nurse Consultant Alison Partyka, ED Paediatric Nurse Practitioner Danielle Coates, RNSH DOMN Tracey Gray, ED Nurse Manager Bryan McKeeHata and RNSH General Manager Alison Zecchin with the play space.

SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS Share your news and achievements. Contact the Media and Communications team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



Associate Professor Sarah Glastras

Transforming treatments for those with diabetes Kolling researcher and RNSH endocrinologist Associate Professor Sarah Glastras will have a key role in a national effort to improve long- term outcomes for those with diabetes. The initiative has brought dozens of experts

leads to important benefits and outcomes for our patients. “The ACADI training program will leverage the expertise from the medical and research community, government and related agencies, commercial partners and people with diabetes.” The national initiative has identified three priority areas, including a focus on diabetic kidney disease, diabetic foot syndrome and complications from hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar syndrome. A third of people with diabetes develop diabetic kidney disease, which is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease, and a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and premature death. “Sadly, current interventions only slow the progression of diabetic kidney disease,” she said. “It’s anticipated there will be an increasing demand for kidney replacement therapy with our ageing population and an increasing prevalence of diabetes in younger age groups. “We are very hopeful that this national initiative will accelerate innovations to improve the lives of people with the disease and at risk of developing the condition. “Our research will focus on the early identification of people at risk, improvements in diagnosis, prognosis and management. We hope that this collaborative approach will deliver real improvements in the care offered to all communities.”

from across the country together under the banner of the Australian Centre for Accelerating Diabetes (ACADI) Innovations Research. International collaborators will also be involved, providing crucial research data and supporting advances in the delivery of care. The centre, which has been made possible with Federal Government funding, will drive improvements in the care of those with diabetes from diagnosis through to its devastating complications. Importantly, the program will aim to support Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, addressing inequities in care and increasing life expectancy for all Australians. Targeted programs will ensure equal access to new products and clinical trials regardless of cultural backgrounds or remote locations. Sarah is the training lead for the project, and will oversee the program along with a team of training advisors from each state and territory. “This is a tremendously exciting program bringing the brightest minds in the country together to deliver new models of care for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diabetes and its complications,” she said. “I’m thrilled to have been appointed the ACADI training lead and I look forward to providing much needed support to trainees, especially in the areas of research translation - making sure that the research that we do




NORTHERN SYDNEY LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT NSLHD's Workplace Giving charity partner Dignity aims to empower people experiencing homelessness. Please join us this Christmas to bring cheer to vulnerable families in our community by donating to our hamper drive.

CHRISTMAS HAMPER DRIVE The following items will make a significant difference this Christmas:

Men's, women's and children's socks and undies. Children's new summer clothes and sleepwear in assorted sizes. Men's and women's new summer clothes and sleepwear assorted sizes. 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 29 November

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