Bushland Health Group - Honoured with Top Aged Care Award

Bushland Health Group in Taree has been named as one of two inaugural winners of the National Innovation and Excellence in Aged Care awards for its Nurse Practitioner Palliative Care Model.

Edition 65 Bushland Health Group 1 Better Practice Award

(L-R) Andrea Coote, Sharyn Speakman, Bernadette Burke, Margaret Mills, Errol Curran and Nick Ryan

The two winners were recently announced by Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, at the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency's Better Practice conference in Sydney.

This new Better Practice award recognises Providers nationally that demonstrate leading edge, innovative practices in aged care that represent excellence, and showcases industry leaders worthy of national and international recognition in aged care practice.

This prestigious award continues the recognition that Bushland Health Group has received for the utilisation of a Nurse Practitioner in its three aged care homes at Karingal Gardens, Bushland Place and Banyula Lodge to improve the quality of care given to residents, and provide rapid access to primary health care that has led to a significant reduction in resident hospitalisations.

Bushland Health Group was one of the first Aged Care Providers in Australia to employ a full time Nurse Practitioner in 2009 and use their expertise for the benefit of residents, and is the only Provider in the Manning Valley with its own dedicated Practitioner.

Chairman, Graham Brown said, "As a community organisation, we are delighted to receive national recognition for our Nurse Practitioner - Palliative Care Model. We are always looking at ways to improve what we do and what we can offer our residents. This award, however, would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of our staff that deliver care and other services to our residents".

Quality Agency CEO, Nick Ryan said "the Better Practice awards highlighted the positive programs in action for older Australians and rewarded staff, management, clients, and organisations for their hard work".

"The stand out providers spend time finding out what their consumers want, and then find a way to make it happen".


Nurse Practitioner Palliative Care Model

The Palliative Approach - Nurse Practitioner Model was developed to enhance the palliative care services provided at Bushland Health Group and in response to the National Palliative Care Strategy 2010.

This model is comprised of a full-time Nurse Practitioner who is responsible for the provision of palliative care across the 263 residential aged care beds.

To successfully implement this model, a steering committee was developed - comprised of the Nurse Practitioner, Director of Care, Clinical Nurse Educator, and the organisation's Pastor - to lead a policy and process review with extensive initial and continuing education of the nursing staff.

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Implemented strategies are providing further support for grieving families

To assist with this change, several strategies were developed including an Advance Care Plan (ACP) document detailing goals of care with residents, carers and families. A resource library with information about the palliative approach was a positive addition and a Palliative Care Interest Group was formed to continually review the current process and to discuss other topics of interest.

Other strategies such as 'Grief Debrief' for staff and volunteers, and the Annual Remembrance Service that relatives are invited to attend were recently implemented. These strategies provide further support for grieving families and also meet the national standards for palliative care.

To ensure continuous improvement, an After Death Review document has recently been implemented to identify areas or aspects of palliative care which could be improved on.

Based on extensive feedback, the organisation considers the NP Model of Collaborative Palliation is achieving the goal of a 'dignified death' as demonstrated over time and across the three residential aged care facilities operated by Bushland Health Group. 

Margaret Mills, Quality & Compliance Manager