And the winners are….Best of the West WSLHD Quality Awards 2022

On the evening of Thursday 10 November, over 280 staff gathered at western Sydney’s CommBank Stadium to celebrate another year of great triumph for Western Sydney Local Health District.

Announcing the 2022 Best of the West …………

Category 1: Integrated Value Based Care

Winner: Multidisciplinary Outpatient Care for Heart Failure, Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals
The project successfully reduced the 28-day readmission rate for chronic heart failure patients to Blacktown Hospital’s Cardiology Department from 22 to 11 per cent.

The Integrated Value Based Care Award recognises initiatives that support WSLHD’s vision for a sustainable health system that delivers outcomes that matter to patients, is personalised, invests in wellness and is digitally enabled. The recipient of this Award has demonstrated improvement in different aspects of value, including health outcomes that matter to patients, the experience of receiving and providing care, and the effectiveness and efficiency of care.

Category 2: Excellence in Aboriginal Healthcare

Winner: Aboriginal Health Hub – A COVID-19 Cultural Crisis, Integrated and Community Health
This project strongly supported the WSLHD Aboriginal community during the COVID-19 pandemic to access culturally appropriate information, vaccinations, advocacy, and helped in ensuring compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, promoting overall wellness in the community.

The Excellence in Aboriginal Healthcare is a new award that recognises exceptional healthcare delivery through strong partnerships across NSW Health and external agencies. The recipient of this Award has demonstrated innovation through:

  • valuing and fostering respect for the expertise and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services
  • collaboration in designing and delivering services.
  • sharing of resources.
  • strong consultation and communication mechanisms.
  • strategic collaboration or partnership in the development of the project.
  • responsiveness to the local Aboriginal community’s health needs, as identified by the local Aboriginal Health
  • capacity building and employment of Partnership Agreement or Aboriginal Health LHD Action Aboriginal people.
  • partnership with the Aboriginal people and communities in the design, implementation, evaluation and evidence building.

Category 3: Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services

Winner: Rising Stronger: Student led exercise in Mental Health, Westmead
This project successfully increased the physical activity of psychogeriatric inpatients by 50 per cent within 12 months. During the three-month pilot study, most patients reached 50 to 70 per cent of recommended exercise guidelines, previously averaging only 17 per cent. This initiative has resulted in a 21 per cent decrease in falls.

The Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services Award recognises and showcases innovation in improving the quality and safety of mental health patient care. The recipient of this award has demonstrated innovation through:

  • best practice, excellence, and innovation in mental health service delivery
  • development of consumer-focused services
  • positive mental health and wellbeing through consumer and carer participation
  • improved prevention and early intervention.

Category 4: Health Research and Innovation Award

Winner: Connected Care Clinics – Holistic Care for Vulnerable Families, Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals
This project aimed to improve healthcare access for children who experience significant social adversity, via a multidisciplinary clinic which provides holistic paediatric assessment, enhanced interagency communication, and appropriate referrals for longer term care over a six-month period. Since the commencement of this clinic, it has provided a service for 110 patients with an additional 137 patients who have been referred and triaged.

The Health Research and Innovation Award recognises and showcases WSLHD’s commitment to translating research and innovation into clinical service models that deliver positive health outcomes for our community. The recipient of this award has demonstrated outstanding and innovative achievements by establishing:

  • ways of assisting clinicians and health decision makers to find or use research effectively
  • research partnerships or collaborations involving clinicians, health service providers, decision makers and/or consumers that have led to outstanding examples of research that changed policy or practice
  • acknowledgement by decision makers of the impact of research on their policy or practice
  • eHealth, health information and data analytics to support and harness health & medical research and innovation.
  • clinical practices and processes delivered through innovative built spaces including new approaches to effective and efficient building outcomes to deliver clinical outcomes.

Category 5: Keeping People Healthy Award

Winner: Qudos Bank Arena NSW Health Vaccination Centre, WSLHD
This project was implemented over 12 days, with the mass vaccination centre operating for 13 weeks and delivering 349,531 vaccinations.

WSLHD is committed to promoting good health through raising awareness of healthy choices, preventing ill health and improving the overall health and wellbeing of the community.

The Keeping People Healthy award, formally The Harry Collins Award, has previously commemorated the outstanding commitment and passionate contribution of Mr Henry (Harry) Collins. Harry made a particularly outstanding contribution to the “Clean Hands Save Lives” Campaign prior to his death in November 2007. This campaign is an example of a Keeping People Healthy initiative. His dedication to bringing the community’s perspective to the prevention of Healthcare Associated Infections is greatly appreciated by both patients and staff of the NSW Health system and NSW Health is proud to recognise these achievements.

The recipient of this award is recognised for innovative ideas which promote:

  • reducing negative health impacts through improvements in environmental health
  • action to support individuals, families and communities to make healthy lifestyle choices
  • closing the gap in Aboriginal health outcomes
  • identifying and improving health outcomes for risk groups, e.g. children, youth, older people, workers and disadvantaged groups
  • primary, secondary and population health prevention
  • the integration of the CORE values in promoting healthy living.

Category 6: Patient Safety First

Winner: QR Codes for Cast Care, Westmead Hospital
Since its implementation, this project successfully reduced adverse events relating to cast care by over 80 per cent at Westmead Hospital.

Providing world-class clinical care where patient safety comes first is a key priority for WSLHD. WSLHD has a shared vision that patient safety is everybody’s business.

The Patient Safety First Award acknowledges a commitment to putting Patient Safety First every day. The recipient of this award is recognised for demonstrating Patient Safety First in:

  • leading quality improvement to ensure safer patient care
  • delivering innovative approaches to improving patient safety
  • engaging patients in approaches to improve patient safety
  • demonstrating leadership or role modelling behaviour that puts patient safety first.

Category 7: People and Culture

Winner: HIRAID – Aged Care: Improving Quality and Safety of Residential Aged Care Facilities, WSLHD
This project reduced preventable resident deterioration events and ED transfers by 20 per cent and improved resident satisfaction and quality of nursing documentation by up to 10 per cent.

The People and Culture Award brings together two Awards, a safe and healthy workplace and supporting our people. This Award recognises teams who develop and support our people and culture and ensure a safe and healthy environment for patients and staff. The recipient of this award is recognised for demonstrating:

  • collaboration within the NSW Health system to improve health outcomes
  • increased awareness of the importance of personal safety alongside patient safety
  • enhanced access and training in workplace health and safety
  • fostering a culture that reflects the NSW Health CORE values and respects diversity.

Category 8: Transforming the Patient Experience

Winner: Low Sensory COVID-19 Vaccination, WSLHD
This project established a vaccination pathway for people living with an intellectual disability, sensory disturbance, or chronic mental health condition to enhance the uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations. Since its introduction, the clinic has successfully delivered 513 Low Sensory Vaccinations.

The Transforming Patient Experience Award recognises patients as partners in their health care and aims to acknowledge projects or programs which promote collaboration between the patient and the health care team to improve health.

The recipient of this award is recognised for demonstrating innovation in:

  • empowering patients to take control of their health and be supported in managing their own health conditions
  • shared decision making; the patient is an expert in their own values and needs
  • clinicians planning and delivering care in partnership with the patient
  • enhancing access to patient centred care for people living with chronic illness
  • promoting of CORE values in all patient interaction
  • engaging consumers in strategic planning and governance processes.

Category 9: Education and Training

Winner: Debridement Education (DEBed) Study, Integrated and Community Health
The project has started to change the culture of chronic wound management and improve wound outcomes by increasing capacity for wound debridement in ICH Chronic and Complex (CAC) Nursing through the formation of an education and credentialling process.

Education and training of new and existing staff is paramount to the ongoing development of WSLHD staff to ensure safe delivery of care. The Education and Training Award recognises the development of staff through education and training. The recipient of this award has demonstrated staff development by:

  • introducing new training/education programs that assist staff to gain new skills and expertise
  • introducing new pathways for learning
  • developing programs for re-skilling staff which uses evidence-based practice or research and has led to improved service delivery and/or patient outcomes
  • developing programs to address changing educational requirements for services
  • developing demonstrated partnerships with tertiary institutions in program development and delivery.

Category 10: Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Betty Starkey, Volunteer Supervisor, Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals
Betty became a linchpin to the volunteers, coordinators, and managers over the years as she was so frequently available to assist with the recruitment of new volunteers. Betty was described as a person who knew ‘how to get things done’. Betty recruited and onboarded hundreds of volunteers that came into volunteer programs at Blacktown Hospital including volunteers working in Cardiac rehabilitation, ICU and Wayfinders.

She was elected by her peers as their leader once the Pink Ladies officially formed and has been in that role for 37 years and counting. Betty is described by her team as capable, open and collaborative. Core responsibilities in her role has been to manage the rostering and recruiting of volunteers and overseeing stalls, ‘big morning teas’ for Cancer Council and selling raffle tickets to raise money for much needed hospital equipment. In her four decades as a volunteer, Betty has overseen up to $1 million dollars being raised for WSLHD.

Betty has always responded to the needs of Blacktown Hospital patients and staff. During the COVID 19 pandemic, Betty continued to actively support the hospital by providing a sense of community for the volunteers. She worked online and on the phone to support the volunteers that were dealing with the most challenging interruption to their work.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognises the significant contribution of an individual to volunteering within WSLHD. The recipient of this award is recognised for:

  • providing excellent support for patients, carers, and families
  • acting as a role model for volunteering in WSLHD which promotes volunteer services and inspires other volunteers
  • using new and innovative ways to engage patients, carers, and families.

Category 11: Collaborative Staff Member of the Year

Winner: Professor Golo Ahlenstiel, Clinical Network Director Specialty Medicine
Professor Ahlenstiel has provided a coordinated service to the care of patients in the community as well as of those admitted to Blacktown and Westmead Hospitals in NSW.

The inTouch COVID Care in the Community developed under Professor Ahlenstiel’s medical leadership has demonstrated an exemplar morbidity and mortality rate. The care of over 10,000 patients in the InTouch community model has been an outstanding success. While he united various health professionals and teams, he also placed himself on the front lines to treat patients and develop systems to establish standardised best practices, ensuring patients received high quality and safe care in the uncertain COVID environment.

The Collaborative Staff member of the Year Award brings together two individual awards, staff member of the year and collaborative leader of the year. The Award recognises WSLHD employees who have made an exceptional contribution through effective collaboration to the NSW Health system.

The recipient of this award is recognised for:

  • as part of their clinical or support role in NSW Health, providing excellence in service to support staff, patients, carers, or families
  • being a role model for promoting positive cultural change and inspiring other staff within NSW Health
  • using new and innovative ways to collaborate with staff, patients, carers, or families
  • supporting effective teamwork to collaboratively improve patient care
  • applying strong corporate and clinical governance and CORE values in all health services.

Category 12: Collaborative Team of the Year

Winner: Staff Skills Stations, Auburn Hospital
This project increased nursing staff confidence from 7.6 to 8.69 (on a 10-point scale) when performing specific emergency nursing skills. Medication related incidents reported in ims+ significantly reduced by 76 per cent.

The Collaborative Team of the Year Award is presented to the team that has embodied the CORE Values of the district. The recipients of this award have demonstrated innovation to enhance skills, positive behaviours, integrity, and inspiration for their team to deliver results for the communities we serve.   

Category 13: People’s Choice

Winner: Titanium Online Training Program
This program has successfully introduced a new online training program that helps Oral Health staff to improve their skills, competence and confidence when using Titanium.

The People’s Choice Award is chosen by staff and recognises project which was the most popular amongst WSLHD staff. This category provided staff with an opportunity to elect an intervention which they believed had a significant contribution towards improving the safety and quality of care delivered across WSLHD. All 2022 WSLHD Quality Awards submissions were open for nomination to all WSLHD staff members via an online survey.

Category 14: Health Care Quality Committee Chair’s Award for Commitment to Quality Improvement

Winner: Digital Integration of Clinical Eye Examinations (DICE)
This project decreased daily patient waiting times by 15 to 20 per cent while it also achieved a 31.6 per cent improvement to clinical workflow by reducing total diagnostic time with patients by 47.4 hours per month.

The Health Care Quality Committee Chair’s Award is presented to the team whose contribution to promotion of safety and quality in WSLHD, with a particular focus on continuity of care during the COVID-19 pandemic, is outstanding.  

Category 15: Board Chair’s Award

Winner: WSLHD COVID-19 Outreach Vaccination Program
In 12 months, 3,683 vaccinations were delivered to WSLHD patients, visitors, and staff.

This intervention rapidly established both an outreach and in-reach vaccination model to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to priority vulnerable population groups, patients, and visitors across WSLHD. The outreach model achieved the following outcomes:

  • In 14 months, 29,438 vaccinations were delivered to vulnerable community members via 725 outreach clinics
  • An average of 370 vaccinations were delivered per day in the peak of the pandemic.
  • Strong relationships were established with 88 partner organisations targeting six core priority population groups.

Category 16: Chief Executive’s Award

Winner: InTouch COVID Community Care
From June 2021 to the end of May 2022, a total of 42,576 patients have received care from this model.

This initiative delivered a model of care that identified and managed patients in the community who were at risk of deterioration from COVID-19. The goals included increasing people’s health literacy and ability to self-manage their condition in order to avoid ED presentations and hospital admissions. This model also provided psychosocial care and access to food and supplies to avoid a breach of home isolation.

In 2021, when COVID Delta cases climbed to over 4000 in a few weeks across WSLHD, it was not feasible to admit all patients to a hospital. Through an agile approach, this team was able to design and deliver a model of care that aligned with the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation COVID Care in the Community guidelines.