For the first time, Westmead Hospital heroes were invited to take time out of their busy days and dedicate it to self-care at a Westmead Staff Wellness Day on Wednesday 13 October.
Health stations were set up outside Westmead Hospital to offer heart and skin checks, have discussions about general vaccinations, and to book a breast screening – all things that might have been overlooked over the past 20 months.
Westmead Hospital director of nursing and midwifery Kate Hackett said it was a perfect occasion to celebrate the ongoing efforts of the staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Everyone has worked so hard in the past 18 months and while caring for our patients has been our number one priority, we wanted to make sure our staff takes time to care for themselves too,” Kate said.
“This was an opportunity to get outside and follow up on some important health issues our staff may have been postponing.”
The event was organised by Westmead Hospital executive and management and sponsored by Westmead Association with the support of staff health, cardiology, and dermatology departments and BreastScreen NSW.
Every staff member received a gift bag and a booklet where they could mark any identified health risks and take it to their GP for further follow-up.
“You have been caring for others, now it is time to care for yourselves,” Westmead Hospital emergency department specialist Kavita Varshney, one of the organisers of the day, said.
Westmead Hospital physiotherapist Vandana had her first ever skin check thanks to the wellness day.
“I have been reluctant to find time for this – life gets so busy sometimes,” Vandana said.
“I was happy to find out that I could get it done as I had some questions regarding my skin health. I’m looking forward to learning more.”
Westmead dermatologist Dr Maddie Gorgi said it was important to know how to take care of the skin.
“Skin is one of the largest organs in our body and it is exposed to various external factors like UV-rays, pollution and chemicals,” Dr Gorgi said.
“I focus on educating staff about the importance of using moisturiser and sunscreen – the two major staples of skin care.”
The cardiology stall offered staff members blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation tests and an electrocardiogram carried out on a new high-tech device, the Alivecor Kardiamobile, which takes a medical-grade ECG in just 30 seconds.
“We have been able to identify a few risks and referred staff members to GPs and even our rapid access unit to do some further checks,” Westmead Hospital cardiac rehabilitation nurse unit manager Robert Zecchin said.
“The new device we are using allows us to assess a heart rhythm in 30 seconds and see if there are any abnormalities. It’s an important test because atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rate that causes poor blood flow.
“If overlooked, it can cause stroke but with this technology we were able to get answers within just 30 seconds!”
The BreastScreen stall was offering staff members the opportunity to book their regular check.
Westmead Breast Cancer Institute marketing and recruitment coordinator Sou Helmey said she was looking forward to resuming services that have been impacted by the pandemic.
“Finding breast cancer in early stages can save lives. It is an important reminder for ladies to look after their breast health. I am happy to see so many ladies here, making bookings with our service,” Sou said.
More staff resources and support is always available for all Western Sydney Local Health District staff through the Staff Wellbeing homepage