August 12, 2020

Better together

“We are in this together”… This has been one of the most commonly used phrases during the COVID-19 pandemic that people from all over the world have been using in solidarity.

Together makes up one of our news values here at Northern Health, along with Safe and Kind – the three of which will help us to achieve our vision of a healthier community, making a difference for every person, every day, as outlined in our Northern Health Strategic Plan 2020-24.

The current pandemic has shown just how critical it is to work together across our entire health service – and support and encourage one another while doing so.

Briana Baass, Chief Allied Health Officer and Partnerships, explained what the value together means to her.

“All of us working as one team to look after our patients together – from medical, nursing and allied health to non-clinical staff – we all enable this to happen,” she said.

For the wider community, Together applies to health networks and community organisations across our catchment area working collaboratively to help people in the community have access to the best possible care.

“From a partnership perspective, it’s about how we come together across the whole northern system to create an integrated care system for our community, while we work together with our consumers,” Briana added.

Together is especially relevant in the concept of ‘Staying Well’ where we work to address the needs of patients with complex conditions both in hospital-based and community care.

Briana used the example of the project, ‘Staying Well with diabetes in the north’ – a partnership between Northern Health, Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network and DPV Health which aims for an integrated, multidisciplinary wrap around service model for community members living with diabetes.

“An important aspect of this is is the way we use patient-reported outcome measures to help shared decision-making, so we are working together to design their own treatment plan,” Briana said.

During COVID-19, working with our community partners has become especially important.

Together with Max Lee, the CEO of Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership, Briana said they realised there would be a lot of people who will be isolated in the community – “This isn’t necessarily Northern Health’s core business but some of our patients being discharged may experience this,” she said.

In response to this, our social work team pulled together a list of psychosocial services across the region and Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership have taken it on to assist those who are isolated in the community. You can view the full directory here.

Together is important for Northern Health as there is a real sense of satisfaction from working as a team and being driven by succeeding as a team. Working together is really rewarding and is applicable both within Northern Health and our external catchment,” Briana explained.

“We all have such critical and speciality skills to offer and it’s only when we put all the pieces of the puzzle together that our consumers can really thrive and have the best quality of life. We often think, as an acute health service, that we can do everything, but to ensure patients don’t deteriorate in the community, and reach their own goals, we need to remember that all parts of the system play a critical role,” Briana added.

“I wish I could tell staff that this pandemic will end soon but I can’t promise that – but I do believe that if we work together, we can get through this.”