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.