May 6, 2021

Successful move into new wards at Northern Hospital

This week, new wards at Northern Hospital were opened as part of Stage 2 of the Northern Hospital Expansion. Located in the new Main Ward Block, Wards 19, 20 and 21 were moved into over two days – Tuesday, 4 May and Wednesday, 5 May – and are now operational.

We spoke to some of the Divisional Directors and Heads of Unit to see how the move went and how their teams are enjoying their new spaces.

Dennis Gyomber, Divisional Director of Surgery, acknowledged the exceptional work of Ward 19 staff who moved from Ward 13 on Wednesday, led by Nurse Unit Manager, Amanda Palelogos. He also explained the benefits of the new ward.

“The new ward provides a modern, clean and less cluttered space for the surgical and nursing teams. Most patients will have large private rooms, meaning the surgical teams can now hold conversations that maintain confidentiality, have enough room for family members to be present and finally provide shelter from the noises of a busy ward creating an environment favourable for recovery from surgery,” said Dennis.

“Ward 18 moved and split into two new wards, Ward 20 and Ward 21. The specialist medical services that Ward 18 previously provided, respiratory and neurology/stroke, are now located on separate wards. This separation of specialist medical services has allowed for an expansion of neurology and stroke services at Northern Health, which now offers facilities for acute stroke/neurology high dependency and specialist electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring services,” explained Lisa Cox, Divisional Director of Medicine, Subacute and Emergency Services; Emergency Management.

“Carol Winter (Ward 20) and Nadine Stowell (Ward 21), as Nurse Unit Managers, have completed a vast amount of work to ensure the smooth transition and move, and large amounts of this work was completed during our very challenging 2020 year. The move on Tuesday went seamlessly and was just about complete by mid-morning! They should both be highly commended,” said Lisa.

“A big thank you to Kathryn Bartho, Lora Davies, Carolyn Downing and Karen Green who also had significant roles with this project, and for the Access Team at Northern Hospital for assistance on move day. Big moves, like this one, makes you feel very proud of your team and support staff, and clearly demonstrates our staff living the Northern Health values,” Lisa added.

Associate Professor Doug Crompton, Head of Neurology, is thrilled with the new facilities.

“The opening of Ward 21 gives Northern Health world class facilities for the care of neurology and stroke patients. For the first time, we will have two inpatient rooms for video-EEG (brainwave) monitoring to optimise diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy and related conditions,” he explained.

“Atrial fibrillation is associated with one in four strokes but is often intermittent and challenging to detect. We now have comprehensive cardiac rhythm monitoring for people presenting with strokes to allow early detection and treatment of atrial fibrillation, enhancing our ability to minimise stroke recurrence,” Doug added.

Dr Yana Sunderland, Divisional Director of Medicine, also acknowledged the importance of these new facilities.

“We know that having our patients in the right place makes it easier for our staff to better respond to patient’s care needs and provide timely cohesive high quality care. This makes a difference to our patient’s care experience. The new Respiratory Care Unit and Stroke Unit beds will also allow us to deliver more specialised care in a purpose built environment that better meets the needs of these patients,” Yana said.

Dr Katharine See, Director of Respiratory Medicine, explained, “The purpose built ward improves the safety of some of our most unwell and vulnerable patients. Every single one of the Respiratory Care Unit beds has been designed with direct line of sight vision from the nurses station, plus state of the art back to base monitoring. Feedback from our patients is that when you’re acutely short of breath, it’s reassuring to be able to see that the nursing and medical staff are monitoring you closely, regardless of whether they’re in the room with you or outside at the staff station. This reassurance helps manage the anxiety of being acutely unwell.”

Featured Image: Ward 19 staff after their successful move from Ward 13 

Ward 20 staff