2018 Victorian Public Healthcare Award Winners

Congratulations to our 2018 Victorian Public Healthcare Award Winners!

The Victorian Public Healthcare Awards are the annual celebration of excellence, dedication and innovation in public health, health services and service initiatives that deliver informed and effective healthcare.

Monash Health is proud to receive the Secretary’s Award for improving integration of care for patients with chronic and complex conditions for ‘A proactive system of care for patients with life limiting chronic conditions’ and the joint-award for the Minister for Health’s Award for improving children’s health for their project ‘Escaping to fantasy land: using leading-edge technology to distract children during medical procedures.’

We also received the highly commended award for the Safer Care Victoria compassionate care award for the ‘Introduction of Schwartz Rounds.’

“We are proud to be recognised in our continuous pursuit of excellence. Our five finalists showcase the incredible work of our people at Monash Health and our commitment to serve our community”, said Chief Executive Andrew Stripp.

Category: Secretary’s Award for improving integration of care for patients with chronic and complex conditions 
A proactive system of care for patients with life limiting chronic conditions

Associate Professor Peter Poon and the Supportive Chronic Conditions Care (SCC) team developed a system of care for patients with life-limiting chronic conditions (LLCC). This proactive and innovative model of collaboration ensured palliative care clinicians, along with other specialists, worked together as one team to ensure holistic, coordinated care with continuity over the course of the illness and care settings, while reducing the stigma or fear associated with palliative care.

The initiative successfully improved care-planning; covering advance care plans, timely referral to palliative care and coordinated, comprehensive community service referrals. It also provided care planning information to general practitioners and a single hospital point of contact for GPs and patients/carers.

Most importantly, this initiative made a world of difference to patients and their families as they dealt with ill health and the emotional toll of having a LLCC. The SCCC team commenced in March 2017 and to date 68 patients have been reviewed, with 211 episodes of care across 39 clinic sessions.

Category: Minister for Health’s Award for improving children’s health 
Escaping to fantasy land: using leading-edge technology to distract children during medical procedures

Jeff Chen and the MRI department trialled leading edge virtual reality (VR) technology to improve a child’s MRI experience. Working with Child Life Therapy and Ambient Experience the aim was to minimise anxiety and stress by providing a positive distraction for children and their parents.

Twenty-four children (18 male, 6 female) aged 4 to 13 years participated in the trial during medical procedures that included IV cannulation, blood test, ultrasound and general anaesthetic induction.

The two-month trial showed a 100 per cent success rate for IV cannulation and a much more enjoyable experience for the children. Every child said they would happily use VR again in the future. The results also demonstrated that VR significantly reduced the level of pain children reported during the insertion of an IV needle. This meant the child was more likely to have a successful MRI scan and a more positive experience, as well as enabling their medical treatment to progress.

Category: Safer Care Victoria compassionate care award 
Introduction of Schwartz Rounds

Job burnout can result in a loss of empathy and the ability of a healthcare worker to provide compassionate care to their patients. Schwartz Rounds (the Rounds) are an initiative from the Schwartz Centre for Compassionate Care in Boston that provide a structured forum where all staff (clinical and non-clinical) come together regularly to discuss the emotional and psychological aspects of working in health care. This activity builds a sense of community, reduces isolation and reconnects caregivers to their purpose.

Schwartz Rounds were implemented at Monash Health as a part of the employee health and wellbeing strategy to improve staff experience and enable compassionate caregiving.  Over 500 staff have participated in the Rounds to date, with topics such as  “The patient I will never forget” and “The power of small gestures.” A well implemented Schwartz Rounds program can enable compassionate care in a healthcare organisation. Following a successful start we are determined to continue this initiative, providing leadership in Victoria in this area.

Congratulations to all our finalists in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to renowned cardiologist Stephen Nicholls

World-renowned cardiologist and researcher Stephen Nicholls joins Monash Health and Monash University this week to lead the new Victorian Heart Hospital (VHH) and as Professor of Cardiology.

A multiple-award winner, Professor Nicholls has written more than 770 manuscripts, book chapters and conference proceedings, and has raised more than $100 million in research funding.

Since 2012, Professor Nicholls has been Deputy Director and Heart Health Theme Leader at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). He was also Professor of Cardiology at the University of Adelaide, Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Principal Research Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC).

Professor Nicholls’ research broadly focuses on developing new strategies to reduce the risk of heart disease, involving translational research spanning preclinical human and clinical trials.

“My research interests span the translational spectrum from the factors influencing the biological activity of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), through to the development and use of novel plaque imaging modalities and ultimately large-scale clinical trials of antiatherosclerotic therapies,” Professor Nicholls said.

“In particular, my goal is to bring together laboratory-based scientists, clinical researchers and clinical trialists to develop translational research programs that will seek to improve our ability to tackle the major challenges of diseases of blood vessels—diseases that lead to heart failure and electrical disorders of the heart.”

On accepting his position at Monash, Professor Nicholls said the Victorian Heart Hospital is a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ to develop an integrated Institution, dedicated to clinical service delivery, teaching and research, in the cardiovascular space.”

“The chance to lead a world class clinical team at MonashHeart, expand its research efforts and develop the connectors across the University will position Monash as a world-leading centre in cardiovascular disease,” he said.

Professor Nicholls said he is looking forward to working with a range of new preclinical collaborators across the Monash network.

“I’m particularly looking forward to working with the established CT and molecular imaging groups, as well as the world-class clinical trials groups at Monash, to expand my research in this space.”

Professor Nicholls will start at Monash Health and Monash University in a part time role from Monday 8 October, transitioning to full time by the end of January next year.

Meet Anjali Dhulia, the lead of our Gender Equity subcommittee

Meet Dr Anjali Dhulia, our lead to for the Gender Equity subcommittee

Dr Dhulia is part of our Equity and Inclusion Committee at Monash Health and is making a difference to our community by driving change and ensuring we provide fair opportunities and fair outcomes, regardless of gender.

  1. What is your role at Monash Health?

Director Medical Services and Patient Experience

  1. What is your favourite part about being the lead for our gender equity subcommittee?

I feel both proud and privileged to be part of this work and I hope that it will take Monash Health closer to becoming a leader in this important area. The contribution of gender in the Equity and Inclusion Strategy focuses attention and resource towards creating a work environment where all employees can enjoy equal opportunities, resources and rewards, regardless of gender.

  1. Have you always been passionate about gender equity in the workplace and if not, when did your passion start?

To be honest, I did not think much about gender equity while I was a student or even in the early days of my career. There was always an equal number of women and men around me and there did not seem to be any barriers to what I wanted to do in my professional life. However, when I was in more senior roles, I started noticing that my colleagues were predominantly male, but I still put it down to people’s choices.

In 2015, I had the privilege of working with Professor Helena Teede to develop the Women in Medicine program. That was when I started understanding the modifiable structural and cultural causes of the gender gap that we see across the world, especially in economic participation and political empowerment. Since then, I have schooled myself on this issue and am working with colleagues, both male and female to make a difference in this area.

  1. Why do you think gender equity is important in workplaces?

I think that in general, diversity at all levels is important in the workplace. It brings a wide range of talents and perspectives, which makes the workplace richer in its ideas, decisions and outcomes. To attain that diversity, it’s important that there is equal opportunity for all groups to enter and progress, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, ability or any other specific attribute. But we know that due to biological, social or economic differences amongst groups of people or due to conscious or unconscious biases, not everyone has the same or fair opportunities available to them.

Therefore, if the workplace is to be truly diverse and represent the community that it serves, it is important that we ensure that principles of fairness govern our systems and processes and our culture promotes equity and inclusion. By ensuring gender diversity at all levels of the workforce, we will ensure that we have access to a wider talent pool and benefit from the wide range of perspectives, skills and attributes that all genders bring.

  1. As a woman in a leadership role at Monash Health, what advice would you give for aspiring women in our organisation?

I have learnt from my daughters not to give advice. My own experience has been that over time I have learnt to be kind to myself and not regret the decisions I have made about family and work. It all turned out right in the end. I have learnt to lean in to opportunities and always put my hand up and not be surprised when I get what I asked for.  I have learnt that partnerships and support networks are important and it is okay to ask for help.

  1. What key action from the Equity and Inclusion strategy are you most passionate about implementing?

All of them are important but implementing breastfeeding rooms at all major sites by the end of the year would give me most satisfaction.

We are moving towards exciting things with many new implementations, and the commitment to create an inclusive environment and experience for our community. To read more about what we are doing to embed equity and inclusion into everyday life at Monash Health, read our Equity and Inclusion Strategy 2018 – 2023 here.

Congratulations to our 2018 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards finalists

The Victorian Public Healthcare Awards are the annual celebration of excellence, dedication and innovation in public health, health services and service initiatives that deliver informed and effective healthcare.

Monash Health is proud to be a finalist in five categories for 2018:

  • Minister for Health’s Award for improving children’s health
  • Secretary’s Award for improving integration of care for patients with chronic and complex conditions
  • Excellence in women’s health
  • Improving Indigenous health
  • Safer Care Victoria compassionate care award

Category: Minister for Health’s Award for improving children’s health 
Escaping to fantasy land: using leading-edge technology to distract children during medical procedures

Jeff Chen and the MRI department trialled leading edge virtual reality (VR) technology to improve a child’s MRI experience. Working with Child Life Therapy and Ambient Experience the aim was to minimise anxiety and stress by providing a positive distraction for children and their parents.

Twenty-four children (18 male, 6 female) aged 4 to 13 years participated in the trial during medical procedures that included IV cannulation, blood test, ultrasound and general anaesthetic induction.

The two-month trial showed a 100 per cent success rate for IV cannulation and a much more enjoyable experience for the children. Every child said they would happily use VR again in the future. The results also demonstrated that VR significantly reduced the level of pain children reported during the insertion of an IV needle. This meant the child was more likely to have a successful MRI scan and a more positive experience, as well as enabling their medical treatment to progress.

Category: Secretary’s Award for improving integration of care for patients with chronic and complex conditions 
A proactive system of care for patients with life limiting chronic conditions

Associate Professor Peter Poon and the Supportive Chronic Conditions Care (SCC) team developed a system of care for patients with life-limiting chronic conditions (LLCC). This proactive and innovative model of collaboration ensured palliative care clinicians, along with other specialists, worked together as one team to ensure holistic, coordinated care with continuity over the course of the illness and care settings, while reducing the stigma or fear associated with palliative care.

The initiative successfully improved care-planning; covering advance care plans, timely referral to palliative care and coordinated, comprehensive community service referrals. It also provided care planning information to general practitioners and a single hospital point of contact for GPs and patients/carers.

Most importantly, this initiative made a world of difference to patients and their families as they dealt with ill health and the emotional toll of having a LLCC. The SCCC team commenced in March 2017 and to date 68 patients have been reviewed, with 211 episodes of care across 39 clinic sessions.

Category: Excellence in women’s health 
When the ‘Below 100’ project was born!

The ‘Below 100’ project was created by Dr Mark Tarrant, Colleen White, Jade Johnstone and the Casey Maternity Team.

The State average gestation standardised perinatal mortality ratio (GSPMR) was 100, so the team set out to improve the ratio at Casey from 138, reducing the number of growth-restricted babies and stillbirths.

The team reviewed perinatal deaths with the aim of identifying interventions that could reduce the number of small babies and incidence of stillbirth at gestations more than 32 weeks. The team demonstrated a sustained decrease in the number of small babies born. Results have continued to improve, as underlined by the DHHS VPSPI report 2016-17 in which Casey Hospital reported a GSPMR of 0.86, placing it as the leading hospital among its peer group.

Category: Improving Indigenous health 
Healthy Koori Kids 

The Healthy Koori Kids Clinic (HKKC) was established to deliver a comprehensive and culturally informed multidisciplinary health service for Aboriginal children and young people (0-18 years) in out-of-home-care (OOHC). The clinic consists of a paediatrician, psychologist, speech therapist, Aboriginal paediatric nurses, dental therapist, community development worker and also includes a care coordination role for families accessing the clinic.

The HKKC model aims to address cultural and spiritual dimensions as well as the physical, emotional and social issues of children, ensuring that every child in OOHC receives the appropriate and necessary health care and treatment that is so often missing when they are moving in and out of care and to different homes.

Category: Safer Care Victoria compassionate care award 
Introduction of Schwartz Rounds

Job burnout can result in a loss of empathy and the ability of a healthcare worker to provide compassionate care to their patients. Schwartz Rounds (the Rounds) are an initiative from the Schwartz Centre for Compassionate Care in Boston that provide a structured forum where all staff (clinical and non-clinical) come together regularly to discuss the emotional and psychological aspects of working in health care. This activity builds a sense of community, reduces isolation and reconnects caregivers to their purpose.

Schwartz Rounds were implemented at Monash Health as a part of the employee health and wellbeing strategy to improve staff experience and enable compassionate caregiving.  Over 500 staff have participated in the Rounds to date, with topics such as  “The patient I will never forget” and “The power of small gestures.” A well implemented Schwartz Rounds program can enable compassionate care in a healthcare organisation. Following a successful start we are determined to continue this initiative, providing leadership in Victoria in this area.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

Highlighting the great work of our Stroke and Neurology team

 

People presenting to Monash Health for the assessment and management of acute neurological disorders can expect to receive comprehensive care by a large team of dedicated professionals. Associate Professor Henry Ma, Head of Neurology and Stroke at Monash Health, said “we are very fortunate to have access to the best-trained experts at Monash Health who provide a complete range of pre-hospital, inpatient and outpatient stroke care. Our large team includes colleagues across many treatment and supportive modalities such as emergency medicine, neurology, diagnostic imaging, neurointerventional radiology, neurosurgery, neurophysiology, anaesthetics, intensive care, acute inpatient care, allied health, pharmacy, clinical research, and subacute services.”

“We are so proud of the team that we have at Monash Health and on behalf of all our patients, their families and carers, we would like to thank everyone involved for their tireless dedication and commitment to the care and treatment we provide for our stroke patients” said Associate Professor Ma.

As one of two dedicated state-wide centres for endovascular clot retrieval, Monash Health has seen significant growth in emergency presentations and stroke admissions. Associate Professor Ma said “it’s important that we continue to work with our colleagues across the Emergency and Imaging Departments to expedite the diagnosis and management of patients presenting with symptoms or signs of stroke. We are facing increasing pressures across all our services, but we are committed to ensuring that patients presenting with a stroke or stroke-like episode are well supported.”

Associate Professor Ronil Chandra, Head of Endovascular Clot Retrieval, agreed saying “we have made great progress in ensuring that our multidisciplinary processes operate seamlessly across the continuum of care, and through our various committees and working groups, will ensure that this work continues to progress. We continue to treat increasing numbers of patients with endovascular clot retrieval, and have treated almost 100 stroke patients already this year. With our new state-of-the-art angiography facilities for neurointerventional radiology, Monash Health will continue to play a pivotal role in the assessment and management of stroke patients across the South East of Victoria.”

Associate Professor Henry Ma says that it’s also an exciting time for research across the service. “Our stroke research team, led by myself and Professor Thanh Phan, is an internationally recognised clinical trial and research program, providing access to new and experimental therapies in stroke research. Our partnership with the Monash University Neurology Research Group means that we cover a broad spectrum of clinical research and laboratory science, to ensure that Monash Health remains at the forefront of innovation.”

“National Stroke Week is an important time for people to not only get behind the great work that we do here at Monash Health, but to ensure the best outcomes for stroke patients. It also helps our community understand how they can incorporate healthier habits into their lifestyle and reduce their risk of stroke” says Associate Professor Ma.

National Stroke Week runs from 3-9 September 2018.

New hope for premature babies thanks to placenta cell trial

First published on Nine News, by Ehsan Knopf on 6 August 2019

An Australian hospital is touting a new trial aimed at treating premature babies with lung problems using placenta cells a success.

The human-first trial conducted at Monash Children’s Hospital saw cells from a human placenta successfully infused into six babies around the age of three months.

The findings were published today as part of a study in the STEM CELLS Translational Medicine journal.

Monash University and Hudson Institute scientists hope their treatment can reduce the need for baby ventilation and ultimately prevent chronic lung disease and brain conditions in premmies.

“Premature births can be devastating for some families. Especially those whose children develop chronic lung disease,” study co-lead author Dr Atul Malhotra told TODAY.

“Bronco(pulmonary) dysplasia leads to significant short-term but also long-term side effects in these babies.

“Our researchers 10 years ago found that placenta stem cells (trigger) the lung’s immune response…to help with this chronic lung disease.

“Now we are really excited because for the first time in the world, we have given these cells to six babies and (it’s) shown a good response, especially on the safety front.”

An additional trial will be conducted to study whether the cells can indeed help normalise lung growth among the babies.

Previous trials involving the use of lung repair with placenta cells have so far shown promising results.

Premature births make up two percent of total births.

Alternate clot busting drug improves outcomes for stroke patients

1 May 2018

An alternative and more cost-effective clot-busting drug has greater benefits for stroke patients than the current standard treatment, according to latest research. including Monash University collaborators.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the results of a clinical trial reveal Tenecteplase—a drug that dissolves unwanted blood clots—leads to better outcomes for ischaemic stroke patients than the current therapy, Alteplase, prior to surgical removal of a clot.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Most strokes (around 80 per cent) are ischaemic, resulting from a blocked artery causing reduced blood flow to regions of the brain.

“Treatments to restore blood flow, including drugs such as Tenecteplase and Alteplase, reduce disability for stroke survivors,” said study co-author Associate Professor Henry Ma, Director of Neurology at Monash Health.

“This is the first study that shows patients given Tenecteplase before endovascular clot retrieval had higher rates of blood flow and better functional outcome when treated within 4.5 hours of stroke onset,” said Associate Professor Ma, who is also part of Monash University’s Stroke and Ageing Research Group.

“Another benefit of Tenecteplase is that it’s admnistered intravenously in a single dose over a short period of time and relatively cheaper than Alteplase. Alteplase, the current standard treatment, is given as an infusion over one hour and results in lower rates of blood flow for large blood clots.”

One of the most important findings is that for every nine patients being treated with Tenecteplase, one less patient will require surgical clot removal due to the breakdown of the clot and re-establishment of blood flow to the brain,” Associate Professor Ma said.

“This will not just save precious healthcare resources but also improve outcomes.”

“Patients from rural and regional centres who need to travel long distances to clot retrieval centres such as Monash Medical Centre will benefit greatly from early clot breakdown as every second counts.”

A total of 202 patients were enrolled in the randomised trial in 13 hospitals across Australia and New Zealand between 2015 and 2017.

“Study participants were stroke patients with large clots who were eligible for intravenous clot busting and surgical clot removal within 4.5 hours of stroke onset,” said Monash Health neurologist and co-author Professor Thanh Phan, also from Monash University’s Stroke and Ageing Research Group.

“Surgical clot removal, known as endovascular clot retrieval (ECR), is a relatively new procedure where a large clot is removed by passing a catheter via the large artery in the groin. ECR results in marked improvements in patient outcomes—in a 2015 landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, up to 70 per cent of patients recovered,” Professor Phan said.

Monash Medical Centre is one of only two dedicated ECR centres in Victoria, providing 24-hour, seven-day service for stroke patients across the state.

We’re on the move to provide even better patient care

Monash Medical Centre is changing the way that some of our wards are configured. This is to ensure we have the right beds in the right location, helping us to provide the best care for our patients.

As part of this change, we are relocating some wards at Monash Medical Centre Clayton in four phases. After the successful completion of Phase 1 on Thursday 19 April, we are now commencing Phases 2, 3 and 4 on Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 May 2018.

Relocation of patients will use internal passageways and lifts within Monash Medical Centre. Patients will be transported in their beds.

As well as the usual treatment and care team, extra staff will be on-hand to assist during the move. These staff can be identified by their purple or blue t-shirts with a picture of a bed on them. Please ask any of these staff as well as the ward staff if you have any questions or concerns.

Please be aware of patient traffic flow and be vigilant for your safety and the safety and wellbeing of others.

Additional information

For more information, please read the relevant FAQ document below or speak to your care team about the move:

Nobel Peace Prize visits Monash Health

Pictured: Dr Marcus Yip with the Nobel Peace Prize

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Monash Health received a special visit from a Nobel Peace Prize following the advocacy work of one of our doctors.

Dr Marcus Yip, an advanced trainee in Emergency Medicine and registrar at Monash Health, helped grow the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to a level where it gained global recognition last year after it was awarded the 2017 Novel Peace Prize for its work to “draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

ICAN was established in 2006 by a Malaysian obstetrician who was frustrated with the lack of action by governments towards elimination of these weapons. A small group of committed doctors, medical students and nuclear disarmament activists took up this charge and ICAN was born.

The vision spread, initially through the work of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), and over the past decade, it has spread to over 100 countries and 468 partner organisations.

Well done Marcus!

Don aims to swim English Channel again after heart surgery

Don Riddington

1 April 2018 

Only hours after waking from open heart surgery, Monash Health patient Don Riddington was already planning his next swim across the English Channel.

After becoming the oldest Australian to swim the Channel in 2013, the father of four was planning a relay crossing when he found himself uncharacteristically out of breath while climbing at altitude in Salt Lake City earlier this year.

Tests later revealed narrowings in both main arteries to Mr Riddington’s heart, but within weeks he was able to get into Monash Heart for open heart surgery to bypass the blockages and return safe heart function.

Despite only having surgery a few weeks ago, Mr Riddington is already advanced in his recovery.

It will be touch and go whether Mr Riddington will recover his full abilities in time for the planned August relay crossing, in which he will swim one-hour legs of a four or five person team.