Southern NSW Local Health District has a number of finalists in the NSW Health Awards.
The Awards recognise innovative and sustainable health programs that deliver outcomes that matter to patients and invest in the wellness of the community.
In the team category, Southern Health has been recognised in the Patient Safety First Award: for the Keeping pregnant women safe and close to home program, and the Excellence in Aboriginal Healthcare Award for the Seeing country recover through the eyes of the Yuin People project.
While in the Individual category, South East Regional Hospital's, Rhonda Crowe, has been named as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year Award for her 20 years of voluntary work that's included her work with the dementia and Delirium Hospital program, as a Pink Lady and with Breakfast Club.
Winners will be announced at the NSW Health Awards ceremony on the 19th of May.
The Patient Safety First Award is an award that recognises providing world-class clinical care where patient safety comes first as a key priority, every day.
Southern NSW Local Health District is a finalist for their Keeping pregnant women safe and close to home program.
Clincial Midwifery Consultant Hyperemesis and Gravidarum Project lead, Claudia Stevenson, said the aim of implementing quantitative fetal fibronectin (fFN) testing was to improve women’s safety as a key priority and reduce unnecessary preterm transfers to tertiary maternity facilities.
The world-class technology enables clinicians to predict the likelihood of a preterm birth occurring within seven days of testing. The testing aimed to reduce the maternal transfer rate by 50% within a year, however that was exceeded within the first four months.
"The important part about midwifery is keeping women close to home to be culturally appropriate, by keeping women that are Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander on country," Ms Stevenson said.
The process reportedly involved Executive endorsement to initiate quantitative fFN testing across all maternity services in the Locah Health District.
There was a coordinated rollout to implement testing in late 2020. Staff received education, resources, and equipment.
Key outcomes achieved included:
-79% reduction of women with threatened preterm labour being transferred to a tertiary facility.
-Use and compliance with the Patient Flow Portal from 0 to 76% in six months.
-By engaging women with this care, they can stay safely in their rural communities with their families.
Acting Clinical Midwifery Consultant at South East Regional, Hannah Bird, said the prevention of unnecessary family disruption enables women to be supported in their local communities from the mountains to the sea, to have healthy pregnancies and grow their babies longer.
"It reduces the unnecessary transfers away from the women's home environment and local community and local health services.
Clinical Midwifery and Maternity Risk Consultant Amanda Gear echoed that message.
"When we started the project, we were imagining that we would be getting savings of women being transferred within 12 months," Ms Gear said.
"However, within the first four months of the project, we found that 79% of the women who were going to be transferred were able to be cared for locally.
"It is just an incredible honour to be able to provide this care to women."
Southern NSW LHD is the first in our tiered Maternity Network to implement quantitative fFN across all rural maternity services.
The Excellence in Aboriginal Healthcare Award is an award that recognises exceptional healthcare delivery through strong partnerships across NSW Health and external agencies.
Southern NSW Local Health District is a finalist for their "Seeing country recover through the eyes of the Yuin People" project.
The project is the first District project that begins to understand the impact of the 2019-2020 Black Summer fires on Aboriginal people, their lands and how we can walk together in recovery.
The impact of these fires on Bega Valley and Eurobodalla communities has been substantial with Aboriginal people one of the most affected groups. Despite this, there has been limited discussion with Aboriginal people about their fire experience as residents, distinct communities and First Peoples including their role in disaster recovery and planning.
The aim of the project was to assist the healing of the local Yuin people following the fires and foster interagency collaboration.
An innovative and collaborative co-design model was used to engage SNSWLHD services. It was supported by the PHN, NGO sectors and local Aboriginal people. Connections were fostered and recovery messages were extended through print and digital health promotion resources. The project actions are clearly linked to NSW Health State Health Plan Towards 2021 and current research recommendations.
Health promotion Coordinator, Jennifer Mozina, said there were a number of people involved in the idea.
"The project was the brain child of our Aboriginal health team who decided that after the 2020 Black Summer fires, that they wanted to involve community in healing from the bush fires in many ways," Ms Mozina said.
Acting Team Leader at Aboriginal health, Ivan Goolagong, said "I think we've worked really hard after the bushfires, just bringing the community back together".
"And we are representing the Angajanj Project which we done a calendar for the bushfire recovery which is a menu, traditional foods off the land and the regrowth of the mother land, I suppose."
South East Regional Hospital's, Rhonda Crowe, has been named as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year Award which recognises the significant contribution of an individual to volunteering within NSW Health.
This award aims to acknowledge an individual who:
-provides excellent support for patients, carers and families
-acts as a role model for volunteering in NSW Health which promotes volunteer services and inspires other volunteers
-uses new and innovative ways to engage patients, carers and families.
Rhonda has dedicated over 20 years to volunteering. She started her volunteering services at the Bega Hospital in 1999 as a Pink Lady, assisting with the Hospital Auxiliary and continues to volunteer today at South East Regional Hospital.
In 2009, Rhonda began volunteering for the new Dementia and Delirium Hospital program. It didn’t take long to realise the need to extend the program to include patients with special needs, stroke victims, broken limbs and visually impaired
In 2018, Rhonda moved to the new Sub Acute Rehabilitation Unit assisting with the Breakfast Club, supporting them with activities during the day.
"If you are to remember one thing about volunteering, it is this: that you make so much difference to the lives of others in need," Ms Crowe said.
"It's extra care the patients get that they wouldn't normally get," she continued.
"It's reassurance for the family of those loved ones to know that they're being fed properly and cared for and just a smiley face to see them first thing in the morning."
Rhonda is reportedly a formidable advocate for her community and is an exceptional volunteer who makes continuous efforts to help others.
She enriches the lives of her patients, particularly those who are vulnerable or less able to help themselves. The distinctive features about her volunteering work are that she has earned the respect of her peers by becoming a role model in her field and by demonstrating innovation in delivering lasting results.
"It's an enormous help to the staff because it frees them up to do the more important nursing things while we're, you know, seeing to these patients," Ms Crowe said.
"As a finalist, I do feel honoured and excited, but being a volunteer in general, you don't look for these awards," she said.
"You do it for the love of it and because you want to help people and when you do actually receive an award, it's just overwhelming really."
Image Credit: NSW Health