January 31, 2020

Caring for children closer to home

A new partnership between Northern Health and The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) has proven an outstanding success, with local parents giving the new scheme an average satisfaction rating of 9.2 out of 10.

The partnership, developed jointly by the Heads of Paediatrics and Nurse Unit Managers at both Northern Hospital and the RCH, is designed to allow children from the north to be cared for closer to their home.

Northern Health Clinical Director of Paediatrics, Dr David Tran, was integral to the development of the partnership which sees Northern Health aim to offer two beds per day for the RCH to transfer children who live in the northern catchment back to our hospital. Here they can be cared for by our highly dedicated paediatricians, paediatric nurses and allied health staff.

In the first 12 months of the partnership, we transferred 84 patients which was the equivalent of 146 bed days at the RCH that were freed up.

Northern Health has since collected feedback from patients and families on their satisfaction with the service, receiving an average rating of 9.2 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Ninety per cent of patients and families also noted they would return to Northern Hospital as their first choice closer to home.

Dr Tran said, “This partnership with The Royal Children’s Hospital has been an important part of caring for children – closer to their home. It helps the community build trust in our paediatric care and allows for their ongoing inpatient and outpatient follow up to be managed through Northern Health.”

The Northern Health Paediatric Unit also recently organised an educational seminar for local Maternal & Child Health Nurses (MCHNs), with the aim of engaging with our community and improving care to our patient cohort.

There was a fantastic response with 30 MCHNs attending the event with representatives from Hume, Moreland, Whittlesea, Mitchell, and Nillumbik Councils. Northern Health paediatricians, allied health clinicians and nursing staff volunteered their time to present a topic of interest to the community-based MCHNs.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with some of our key primary carers, and provide updates on some important paediatric topics such as management of the preterm infants at home, feeding issues and gross motor delays in premature infants,” Dr Tran said.

The feedback from the MCHNs was overwhelmingly positive, with a strong interest in further partnerships and educational activities with Northern Health.

A team from Northern Health also recently shared the Northern Hospital and The Royal Children’s Hospital Collaborative Partnership with Children’s Healthcare Australasia at their Paediatric Units Face to Face Insight Forum. 

Children’s Ward Nurse Unit Manager, Courtney Lowry, said, “The forum was a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to showcase the great work that has been done with the partnership with so many colleagues from around Australia and New Zealand”.

Left to right: Barbara Rischitelli, Operations Manager of Women’s and Children’s, and Courtney Lowry, Children’s Ward Nurse Unit Manager, at the forum

(Featured Image: Ebony Albon with daughter, Maisie, at Northern Hospital)