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Volume 13, Issue 5 – December 2019

Clinician Connect

ACI Christmas shutdown 23 Dec 2018 - 6 Jan 2019

Reflections on the ACI as our 10 year anniversary approaches

In January 2020, the ACI celebrates its 10 year anniversary. We invited longstanding members of staff and co-chairs to reflect on how the ACI has brought together people, evidence and systems to improve the health system.

Matt Jennings, Director of Allied Health, Liverpool Hospital and Director of Physiotherapy, South West Sydney LHD, has been Co-Chair of the ACI’s Musculoskeletal Network since 2012.

“I have witnessed the ACI play a role in promoting consumer and community perspectives and frontline clinician input and engagement,” Matt said.

“This greater collaboration and integration has empowered Musculoskeletal Network clinicians to implement evidence-based service models for osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and back pain, and driven practice change that continues to support better outcomes and value within the system.”

“We’ve moved beyond asking consumers what they want to achieve, for instance from rehab, to engaging them in co-design projects and collecting meaningful patient reported outcome measures,” added Helen Badge, Intensive Care NSW Research Fellow.

Sean Kelly, Medical Director, Critical Care, and Anthea Temple, Manager, Primary Health and Integrated Care, reflected on the ACI supporting clinicians and system managers to share information and discuss priorities for change.

“The ACI helps clinicians and managers feel part of a statewide community of practice. It provides them with a voice to influence change aimed at improving the safety and quality of critical care that patients receive, no matter where they live in NSW,” said Sean.

“The ACI has been very effective in linking clinicians with other health agencies, to effect change that would be difficult to initiate and implement at a hospital level. Examples are the Intensive Care NSW service model and exit block work.”

Anthea also emphasised the opportunities to “connect clinicians, consumers and managers from across the state so that they can share the wonderful work they do.”

Many staff also shared their pride at being part of the ACI’s support for pilot or small-scale innovations that matured into large scale initiatives.

“I have witnessed how we have nurtured initiatives from early stages to being adopted and implemented in NSW and elsewhere. I am most proud of our work in hip fracture care, delirium care, and food and nutrition in hospitals,” said Glen Pang, Project Manager of the Healthcare Innovation Venture Enablement.

Jenni Johnson, Stream Manager, Trauma, Pain and Rehabilitation, highlighted the Pain Network’s 2014 pilot of a telehealth model for pain management in two services at Orange and Westmead. The ‘hub and spoke’ model involved a multidisciplinary specialist pain team located at the hub (metro) connected with a patient and GP at the spoke (rural) end. The successful pilot led to all pain clinics being equipped with telehealth platforms.
“Telehealth can help to overcome challenges related to geography and distance, but it’s crucial to have a sound clinical model underpinning the technology,” said Jenni.

The Care of the Confused Hospitalised Older Persons (CHOPs) program, in collaboration with the National Health and Medical Research Council  Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre, expanded from an initial five pilot sites to more than 20 in NSW. CHOPs seeks to translate evidence-based research to change and improve the experiences and outcomes of patients.

“Through CHOPs, we were able to create further evidence, develop resources for clinicians and work with hospitals to implement the principles of care – fuelling my personal passion for the appropriate care of older people,” said Anthea Temple.

Siobhan Connolly, Burns Education and Prevention Officer, feels that the ACI builds on and complements clinicians’ efforts.

“As a clinician you see the need to focus on things like prevention, but you just don’t have the time,” Siobhan said. In her role at the ACI, Siobhan has been involved in several initiatives to reduce burns injury, including domestic treadmill warning stickers and appropriate Australian Standards on children’s nightwear, hot water bottles and wheat packs.

Ellen Rawstron, Clinical Associate Director, Surgery, Anaesthesia and Interventional Medicine, reflected on how the ACI has evolved over the last decade. “Our willingness to partner with, and listen to, the clinicians, consumers and managers has helped us to learn from our successes and how we can support LHDs in different ways to improve patient care. This has been visible in programs such as Multipurpose Services, the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and Telestroke.”

Chief Executive comment

Dr Jean-Frédéric Levesque

Ten years of the ACI

Jean-Frédéric Levesque

The Agency for Clinical Innovation celebrates its tenth anniversary next month, although of course its origins date back much earlier than its formal establishment in 2010. Some of our staff recall the early days of the Greater Metropolitan Transition Taskforce in 2001 where clinical engagement and leadership in health planning were first formalised as an operational model for clinical improvement.

On a personal level, I first visited the ACI in 2011 when it was a newly established pillar. I was a visiting academic at the University of Melbourne when I met with then Chief Executive Dr Hunter Watt. At the time I was very interested by the ACI’s focus on innovation in the clinical space and appreciated the value of pillar organisations that enable the system to realise ambitious and innovative projects that often Ministries cannot accommodate.

I next had the fortune of working with the ACI when I joined NSW Health. As the Chief Executive of the Bureau of Health Information (BHI), the two pillars increasingly partnered to act on the clinical variation and variation in experiences of receiving care that BHI was unearthing.

Now, as the Chief Executive of ACI, I am fortunate to live the experience of clinical innovation from within the organisation and to work with clinicians, staff and colleagues from across the system to see the development, piloting and implementation of change throughout NSW.

During the time I have known the ACI, the organisation has changed significantly. It has grown in size in terms of the number of staff who work here every day, but also in terms of the number of clinical networks and support teams. It has grown in mandate and the organisation’s maturation has meant that it now spans a broad range of projects and roles that include the development and maintenance of clinical guides and tools, the piloting of innovative models of care delivery and, increasingly, the implementation at scale of demonstrated programs. It has also worked at integrating evidence-based methods alongside clinicians’ engagement in its work.

One observation however that is clear to me, as I went from a distant observer, to a peer, to be part of the organisation, is that the ACI is a complex organisation because it combines clinical engagement roles, re-design and co-design roles, evidence assessment and evaluation as well as implementation programs. It is only by being part of the organisation that I could fully grasp the diversity, quality and breadth of the work. The ACI is not just defined by its staff, but also by the impressive crowd of clinicians and consumers giving their time and energy for the purpose of system transformation and innovation in healthcare.

As we approach the end of 2019, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of ACI’s staff this year and in the years leading up to where we are today; and also that of the clinicians and consumers who have shared this journey with us. We look forward to marking our tenth year with you in 2020. In the meantime, enjoy a healthy and safe break over the festive season.

Introducing the Violence, Abuse and Neglect Clinical Network

Violence, Abuse and Neglect Network Manager

The ACI has established a new Violence, Abuse and Neglect (VAN) Network to bring together clinicians, managers, clients and carers with experience in this area. The aim is to improve the delivery of healthcare for people who have experienced violence, abuse or neglect.

The network provides a forum to:

  • share knowledge and experience collaborate across regional and service boundaries
  • give guidance to the system and improve service delivery, system capability and client and staff experience relating to VAN service delivery and mainstream responsiveness
  • work together to develop initiatives and/or models of care
  • support implementation of service standards, clinical guidelines and legislative requirements
  • support the development of local implementation plans and develop local staff skills and knowledge in redesign and implementation, based on the Integrated Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect (IPARVAN) Framework
  • discuss healthcare innovation in this area.

The first project is the VAN Services Redesign Local Implementation Support Project, which involves 12 participating services.

Read more about the Violence, Abuse and Neglect Network

Projects in progress

Network Manager, Rural Health

Jenny Preece

+61 2 6692 7716 | 0427 568 249

Rural Health Network

Improving the Rural Patient Journey initiative

Every year in NSW approximately 600 rural residents suffer a serious trauma which requires a long hospitalisation far away from home. Acute healthcare emergencies are distressing for all patients and their families, but there are additional challenges for people who live in rural, regional and remote NSW.

The Improving the Rural Patient Journey initiative aims to:

  • develop a consistent approach to meeting the social, emotional and practical needs of rural patients, their carers and families when admitted to larger health facilities a long way from home, and
  • develop mechanisms which will improve rural sensitivities for transfer of care back home to the rural community.

Two workshops were conducted to prioritise findings from the diagnostic phase and to generate solutions for four key areas.

  • Early identification of rurality (on admission).
  • Early access to practical support and information.
  • Increase use of telehealth for follow-up appointments.
  • Improve communication tools and consumer empowerment.

Several potential solutions were identified, from developing rural alerts on the Patient Flow Portal, designing a centralised webpage with links to each hospital for localised information, to better using telehealth for follow up appointments.

We are now co-designing solutions with patients, carers and families and from February 2020, they can be tested. The plan is to implement solutions and evaluate them in late 2020.

If you want further information or would like to get involved in the codesign process please contact Jenny Preece.

Evidence Generation Manager (Experiential)

Tara Dimopoulos-Bick

0418 699 403

Leading Better Value Care: local case stories

The ACI is looking for stories of excellence that illustrate the innovative ways that care is delivered in NSW for the Leading Better Value Care clinical initiatives.

Complete this short survey to share a local example

Your response will form part of a collection of vignettes that will be shared with the healthcare community across digital, social and print media.

The vignettes are companion documents that sit alongside clinical priorities briefs and organisational models.

New resources

Ophthalmology Network Manager

Sarah Jane Waller

+61 2 9464 4645 | 0415 531 424

Ophthalmology Network

Model of Care - Community eye care (C-EYE-C) for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy

Award-winning ophthalmology model of care released

The Community Eye Care (C-Eye-C) Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma Model of Care is now available.

This collaborative care model for chronic eye-disease patients, shares care between local optometrists (private) and a public hospital eye clinic. It aims to streamline referral pathways and improve access to ophthalmology services, ensuring timely and appropriate care is given.

The pilot project, run in conjunction with Western Sydney LHD, saw a nine-month reduction in waiting time for glaucoma patients in the outpatient clinic. The implementation has also received wide press and was the recipient of the WentWest collaboration award at the Western Sydney LHD Quality Awards and the 2017 NSW Health Award for Innovation in the Delivering Integrated Care Category.

Congratulations to Dr Andrew White. Belinda Ford and the rest of the Westmead team who piloted this successful model.

Read more about the Community Eye Care (C-Eye-C) Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma Model of Care

Urology/Gynaecological Oncology Network Manager

Clean Intermittent Urethral Catheterisation in Adults

This urology toolkit has information for health professionals about clean intermittent self catheterisation, including compliance to relevant guidelines, an assessment tool and information for patients.

View the toolkit

Stroke Network Manager

Kate Jackson

+61 2 9464 4614 | 0417 680 482

Stroke Network

Eligibility for Endovascular Clot Retrieval: NSW Referral Guide

This publication has been developed in collaboration with consumers, clinicians and managers to support the adoption of a uniform approach to access for endovascular clot retrieval (ECR) across NSW.

The ACI has produced the referral guide to help clinicians determine which patients may be appropriate for ECR treatment. This guide provides information and advice on ECR services, clinical considerations around eligibility criteria and an organisation and system perspective identifying ECR-capable facilities in NSW and minimum requirements for referring hospitals.

View the guide

PRMs Program Manager

Melissa Tinsley

+61 2 9464 4649 or 0475 960 036

Patient Reported Measures

Factsheets about Patient Reported Measures

Some factsheets for clinicians and consumers have been developed to support participation in the Patient Reported Measures (PRMs) program and use of the IT system, known as HOPE (Health Outcomes and Patient Experience). Two factsheets for clinicians, include general information about the program and scripts to support conversations about PRMs and HOPE. Three consumer factsheets emphasise the importance of providing feedback on healthcare outcomes and experience.

View the factsheets

Intensive Care NSW Manager

Guiding Principles for Optimising Intensive Care Capacity

The Intensive Care NSW exit block program informed the development of nine guiding principles to assist in the reduction of ICU exit block and improve facility patient flow. The principles, which incorporate best practice, align with the Whole of Health program and with the Ministry of Health Patient Flow Systems Framework.

View the principles

Manager, Institute of Trauma and Injury Management

Improving the Quality of Trauma Care in NSW: Trauma Services Model of Care

This document is a response to the Trauma Patient Outcome Evaluation Qualitative Report (2016). It aims to address gaps in service delivery by outlining performance, responsibilities and expectations of trauma services. It provides a basis for NSW Health pillars, local health districts, specialty health networks, and external accreditation agencies to assess local resourcing requirements and functional activity of trauma services.

View the model of care

Network Manager, Musculoskeletal Network

Julia Thompson

+61 2 9464 4672 | 0447 633 496

Musculoskeletal Network

Management of acute low back pain

The Musculoskeletal Network, with support from the Emergency Care Institute and Pain Management Network, is pleased to announce the production of a two page consumer information resource about acute low back pain.

Based on the Musculoskeletal Network’s Management of people with acute low back pain model of care, the resource empowers patients to self-manage their condition. It includes a personalised recovery plan, which will support healthcare professionals to provide patients advice about how to stay active and manage their pain.

In addition to supporting best practice care, the Managing low back pain factsheet dispels some common myths about back pain.

View the resource

Stream Manager, Trauma, Pain and Rehabilitation

Jenni Johnson

+61 2 9464 4636 | 0467 772 406

Nutrition for Adults with Spinal Cord Injury

After a spinal cord injury, it is particularly important to eat well and stay within a healthy weight range. For example, being in a healthy weight range plays a significant role in preventing and treating pressure injuries. This consumer resource supports clinical advice about these issues.

View the guide

Pain Management Network Manager

New opioid management tool

Opioids misuse and addiction is a serious health issue worldwide. Having a clear and consistent message and approach to opioid prescribing is hugely important in dealing with this issue in the community.

Quicksteps through Opioid Management is an online resource designed to guide clinicians in their use of opioids in managing chronic non-cancer pain. The resource summarises recommendations and best-practice guidelines in a concise and engaging way, and includes links to chronic pain management tools.

The resource was developed by an opioid prescribing working group convened by the ACI’s Pain Management Network in 2017. The working group brought together a range of people and organisations involved in opioid prescribing in NSW, including:

  • clinicians from a range of disciplines involved in both adult and paediatric pain management
  • the NSW Chief Pharmacist
  • consumer representatives, and
  • academics and representatives from a wide range of organisations who have a direct involvement in opioid prescribing.

The initial aims of the working group were to explore the evidence to support the recommendation of a maximum prescribed daily dose of opioids for the management of chronic pain and the most effective way to implement these recommendations. The working group reached consensus that 60 mg/day oral morphine equivalents should be recommended as a maximum daily dose. This was not intended to be an enforceable limit, but to provide a guide for practitioners and other agencies with further recommendations developed to support what actions to take above and below this level of opioid consumption.

There has been positive feedback about this resource being used by clinicians within NSW and nationally seeking guidance for prescribing and de-prescribing.

Telehealth Manager

Donna Parkes

+61 2 6809 8675 | 0400 925 127


Telehealth in Practice

The new Telehealth in Practice guide aims to answer questions and support clinicians to consider the use of telehealth in clinical practice.

Telehealth is the delivery of healthcare at a distance using information communications technology. It’s a modality used to connect and provide care – linking clinicians with any other person(s) responsible for providing care.

Although the use of telehealth has long been associated with rural and regional services, it can provide similar benefits for staff and patients of metropolitan services. It can also be used broadly across first response, emergency, admitted and non-admitted services for assessment, intervention, consultation, education and supervision.

Embedding sustainable telehealth services into the NSW Health system offers multiple benefits and opportunities for patients, their carers, healthcare workers and the system as a whole. It can support the patient journey by involving the patient’s carer and extending access to support integration of a virtual care team.

See Telehealth in Practice and contact your local Telehealth Manager or Telehealth Lead for further information.

Scientific activities

Emergency Care Institute Manager

Christen Stubbs

+61 2 9412 8214 | 0459 865 927

Emergency Care Institute

ED physiotherapy research

The ECI in collaboration with the Australian Physiotherapy Association and Westmead Hospital conducted a multicentre observational study to determine the impact of the emergency physiotherapy service provided through different models of care on patient flow and outcomes and overall staff and patient satisfaction.

The findings suggest that the primary contact physiotherapy role should form part of the contemporary emergency department clinical workforce across all emergency deaprtments. The manuscript is now published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine Australasia.

Alkhouri H, Maka K, Wong L, McCarthy S. Impact of the primary contact physiotherapy practitioner role on emergency department care for patients with musculoskeletal injuries in New South Wales. Emerg Med Australas. 2019 Sep 30. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.13391.

ECI and Westmead hospital research team. Photo: H Alkhouri

ACI HARC scholar explores new ways to drive change

Lea KirkwoodA Health Alliance for Research Collaboration (HARC) scholarship is helping Lea Kirkwood, Acting Executive Director of System Transformation, Evaluation and Patient Experience at the ACI, tackle a prickly problem for healthcare organisations around the world: When it comes to designing better healthcare, how do we partner for innovation in a notoriously complex system?

The 2018 scholarship allowed Lea to travel to Canada, the UK and the Netherlands to explore the challenging area of transdisciplinary innovation, and to observe how leading health innovators are designing and implementing solutions for complex clinical systems. Her learnings have contributed to the Healthcare Innovation Venture Enablement work currently underway.

In Canada, Lea visited several innovation labs including MaRs solutions lab, which has a mature program of partnering public and private sector to use co-design to innovate on complex issues.

While in Canada Lea had the opportunity to visit the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, which has a similar remit to ACI, reaching across the breadth of Canada. There she met with the Patient and Citizen Engagement for Improvement team to share learnings which will be valuable for the upcoming Partnering to Improve Healthcare delivery for Aboriginal people. Lea continues to collaborate with this team

She also visited a UK-based innovation organisation (Nesta), Trisha Greenhalgh at Oxford University and the NHS Accelerator, and attended the Kings Fund Digital Health conference to meet experts in the field and learn about public service innovation.

In the Netherlands Lea met up with her HARC sponsor Dr. Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer, Associate Professor, Design for Social Innovation at Delft. Mieke’s expertise in innovation in complex systems helped Lea to consolidate her learnings and fill gaps to enable her continued learning in this field.

For more information about the HARC scholarship program and to read about other scholarship recipients, contact the Sax Institute.

Workshops, forums and conferences

Network Manager, Musculoskeletal Network

Julia Thompson

+61 2 9464 4672 | 0447 633 496

Musculoskeletal Network

Acute Low Back Pain Peer Mentoring Workshop

Following the structure of the successful peer mentoring program in the ACI's Osteoarthritis Chronic Care Program and Osteoporotic Refracture Prevention initiatives, attendees gathered to share their insights and knowledge. They discussed management of acute low back pain (ALBP), their experience in developing services and practical ways to improve care.

Attendees heard from three sites who have implemented the ACI's ALBP model of care, the experience of consumers and NSW Ambulance's extended care paramedics, and from researchers in the field. The day was capped off by an interactive workshop exploring the importance of language in managing people with ALBP, and discussing strategies to improve the care we provide.

The ALBP working party will use the outcomes from the workshop to continue planning strategies to improve the care for people with acute low back in NSW.

Attendees listen to a research update on ALBP

Attendees listen to a research update on ALBP. Photo: S Bakonyi

Project Officer, Primary Care Institute

Angela Wicks

0436 658 192

Consumer Enablement Spotlight Series

The Spotlight Series is a quarterly webinar that aims to shine a light on different consumer enablement interventions and approaches and build the capability of healthcare providers to use these approaches. At each webinar a different intervention or approach is highlighted, with guest speakers presenting on the theory behind the intervention, best practice examples, and insights into successful application.

The second Spotlight Series webinar, held on 25 September 2019, focused on health coaching experiences and practices, featuring guest speakers from the USA and local health districts.

The presentation slides from the day are available on the consumer enablement webpage under Consumer Enablement Resources.

Spotlight Series events are free to attend and open to anyone with an interest in learning about consumer enablement approaches, including clinicians, managers, consumers, carers and students.

Emergency Care Institute Manager

Christen Stubbs

+61 2 9412 8214 | 0459 865 927

Emergency Care Institute

ED Nursing Leadership Forum and Research Symposium

ED Nursing Leadership Forum

The ECI recently held its annual Nursing Leadership Forum at the Kirribilli Club. It was aimed at current and future ED nurse leaders to provide valuable insights into contemporary issues that impact emergency nursing.

This forum provided an opportunity for about 70 attendees to discuss clinical and leadership issues that are often not covered in other programs.

The program was developed by nurses for nurses to ensure the day best met their needs. It included a wide variety of topics with a number of respected speakers.

ED Nursing Leadership Forum. Photo: H Alkhouri.

Research Symposium

The third ACI Research Symposium was recently held at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Glebe. The full day program was designed to support clinicians who are interested in developing their skills in research and establish a research portfolio. It was targeting both novice and more experienced researchers. Overall, 123 attended the day and were from diverse workplace locations and specialities.

There was a focus on broader directions and priorities in translational research, funding opportunities and ongoing support for researchers. The day was a great opportunity to share knowledge between clinicians and researchers and a successful platform to establish future research collaborations within ACI networks.

View the program, evaluation report and presentations

ACI Research Symposium. Photo: H Alkhouri

Leading Better Value Care Hip Fracture Care Capability Program

Following the success of last year’s events, Leading Better Value Care (LBVC) Hip Fracture Care project team rolled out a capability program this year to assist local health districts (LHDs) to improve hip fracture care.

In collaboration with senior clinicians and leaders, the project team successfully delivered a series of eight webinars:

  • Data for Improvement
  • Process mapping
  • Patient and staff experience
  • Working together to support early mobilisation for older patients following hip surgery
  • Working together to manage pain for older patients with hip fractures
  • Working together to reduce time to surgery and length of stay for hip fracture patients – a multidisciplinary shared care approach in Western Australia
  • Working together to build: hip, healthy, high performing hip fracture care teams
  • Working together to understand where we are and where we want to be

The webinars were well attended by clinicians and managers from across 15 LHDs, aged care facilities, Clinical Excellence Commission and NSW Ambulance. There was also interest and attendance from participants in Canberra, South Australia and Western Australia.

In the coming months, ACI Hip Fracture Care LBVC project team will be working closely with LHDs to identify the areas for improvement, to assist with implementation and to facilitate knowledge sharing.

Webinar presentations and audio recordings are now available in the LBVC Hip Fracture Care Hub.

Emergency Care Institute Manager

Christen Stubbs

+61 2 9412 8214 | 0459 865 927

Emergency Care Institute

Innovation as Usual

ACI hosted an Innovation as Usual event on Monday 25 November. Held annually, the Innovation as Usual event aims to promote continued innovation in healthcare. The 2019 Innovation as Usual seminar theme, A fine balance, looked at balancing business as usual with the provision of innovative clinical care. This two hour session included a keynote followed by an interactive panel discussion with experts to explore what ‘a fine balance’ means from their perspective including:

  • balancing business as usual with provision of innovative clinical care
  • using performance data to balance the twin imperatives of ‘choosing wisely’ and safe, comprehensive practices
  • balancing patient preferences and clinical evidence
  • balancing the rigours of evidence-based science with the benefits of adopting innovative solutions.

A/Professor Noah Ivers was the keynote speaker. Noah is a family physician and researcher from Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Noah is acknowledged as a world leader in providing performance measurement and feedback to clinicians to support quality improvement. Read more about Noah.

Dr Jean-Frederic Leveque moderated a ‘fishbowl’ panel discussion including A/Prof Ivers, Dr Tracey Tay and Carley Eales, a consumer representative.


Modifying risk factors for endometrial cancer

Cath Bateman

The ACI Gynaecological Oncology Network would like to congratulate Lesley McQuire (Gynaecological Oncology Network Consumer and endometrial cancer survivor) on her recent contribution to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 16 September 2019.

Lesley is a strong advocate for women with gynaecological cancer and is actively involved in many cancer organisations. She recently helped promote Cancer Australia’s new website which has a compilation of the most recent research. In particular endometrial cancer which can be fatal but one-third of endometrial cancers could be avoided by modifying some risk factors such as lifestyle. By sharing her story Lesley hopes to encourage more women to make the lifestyle changes and to talk to their general practitioners.

Welcomes and farewells

Network Manager - Aged Health and Palliative Care

Welcome to new Aged Health Network Co-Chairs

Cath Bateman
Cath Bateman

We warmly welcome our two new Aged Health Network Co-Chairs, Cath Bateman and Rebecca Ronan.

Cath is a registered nurse and holds a Master of Nursing (Research). With over 37 years nursing experience in acute, community, management and project positions, Cath is passionate about improving quality and systems of care, particularly for vulnerable older adults. She has worked with ACI on the development of the Volunteer Dementia and Delirium Care Implementation and Training resource and as the Care of Confused Hospitalised Older Persons program (CHOPs) project officer.

In 2014, Cath was awarded the NSW Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Judith Meppem Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2016 was the recipient of the NSW Health Education and Training Institute Research Translation Award. Cath works as the dementia delirium clinical nurse consultant for Southern NSW LHD and has been a member of the Aged Health Network Executive since 2016.

Rebecca Ronan
Rebecca Ronan

Rebecca is an occupational therapist who has worked in NSW Health for over 12 years, across a variety of clinical areas. For the past five years she has worked as a senior occupational therapist in the Aged Care Service at Nepean Hospital.

Rebecca is passionate about aged health and feels we can all learn so much from the life experience and wisdom within the older population. She has developed an interest in maintaining and supporting cognitive function in older adults, participated in the implementation of the CHOPS program at a facility level, and consulted on the content for the Nepean Blue Mountains LHD Dementia and Delirium Education Program.

Within her roles as both a member of and more recently, the Allied Health Co-Chair for the Aged Health Network, Rebecca has collaborated with other allied health clinicians around NSW to create resources for patients and their carers, along with coordinating educational opportunities for allied health staff in relation to advances in models of care for elderly patients.

Cardiac Network Manager

Cardiac Network Co-Chairs change

David Brieger
David Brieger

Recently, David Brieger, Interventional Cardiologist and Director of Coronary Care Unit and Coronary Interventions at Concord Hospital and Professor of Cardiology, University of Sydney, completed a four year term as Co-Chair of the ACI Cardiac Network. The network has greatly appreciated David’s commitment to improving the quality of patient care during and following hospitalisation, and his passion for translating evidence into clinical practice.

As the NSW representative on the National Cardiac Registry (NCR) Steering Committee, David has provided outstanding leadership in progressing the work on the NSW data collection for percutaneous coronary intervention which will link into the NCR. As a result of this initiative, state level discussions are being held relating to the optimal solution to capture data electronically both for the NCR and for NSW.

The network is looking forward to David’s ongoing membership, particularly his collaboration on a number of cardiac data related projects in the future and his continuing role as a member of the ACI Unwarranted Clinical Variation Taskforce.

Robert Denniss
Robert Denniss

We welcome Robert Denniss, Head of Department of Cardiology at Westmead Hospital, Clinical Professor, University of Sydney, Conjoint Professor, Western Sydney University and Editor-in-Chief of Heart, Lung and Circulation as the Medical Co-Chair. Robert, a member of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Governing Board, brings a wealth of experience to this role. He has a number of research interests including ventricular tachyarrhythmias after myocardial infarction, new models of care for managing people with cardiac disease, cardiac rehabilitation and medical education.

Stream Manager, Trauma, Pain and Rehabilitation

Jenni Johnson

+61 2 9464 4636 | 0467 772 406

Louise Kelly steps down as network Co-Chair

Louise Kelly
Louise Kelly

The State Spinal Cord Injury (SSCIS) network farewells Louise Kelly, who has been part of the network for many years and became Co-Chair in 2011.

Louise enriched the network with her in-depth knowledge and extensive experience working in the specialty of spinal cord injury. She was the clinical nurse consultant (CNC) in spinal cord injury at the Royal North Shore Hospital for 13 years and the Spinal Plastics CNC proceeding this.

Louise has been a member of the SSCIS Clinical Development committee since 2006 and took on the role of chair of this committee in 2014. Some of her key achievements were:

  • serving as interim chair of the Clinical Practice Improvement subcommittee
  • her involvement in the development of the Model of Care for the Prevention and Management of Pressure Injuries in Adults with SCI and Spina Bifida.
  • representing the SSCIS on several icare working parties for prescription guideline development.
  • assisting Enable NSW to develop the formal adult home ventilation package (including evaluation and review of the program).

Louise holds several post graduate qualifications in nursing education, management and sexual health and is recognised as a leading nurse clinician in the specialty across Australia and New Zealand. She leaves her position to focus on her young family and commit more time to her completing her PhD studies in neurogenic continence through the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney.

Rehabilitation Network Manager

Rehabilitation Network Co-Chairs

Sandra Lever
Sandra Lever

The Rehabilitation Network thanks Sandra Lever for her hard work, dedication and leadership as she steps down from the Allied Health/Nursing Co-Chair role at the end of 2019. Sandra has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2014, and Co-Chair since 2015.

Sandra is Clinical Nurse Consultant in Rehabilitation at Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre at Ryde Hospital. Her extensive knowledge, experience, passion for rehabilitation and rehabilitation nursing has been invaluable as Network Co-Chair. Sandra is a strong believer in multidisciplinary teamwork and the importance of rehabilitation nursing in leading, supporting, and reinforcing patient care. In addition to her role as Co-Chair, Sandra is a past president of the Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses Association and represents the Australian College of Nursing on the Australian Stroke Coalition. Sandra was recently awarded the 2019 Stroke Care Champion Award by the Stroke Foundation and Stroke Society of Australasia for her extraordinary long-term dedication and commitment to stroke.

Sandra has been instrumental in the development of several ACI resources, most recently the Principles to Support Rehabilitation Care and the Rehabilitation: What it is and what to expect consumer brochure.

We are fortunate that Sandra will continue to provide her knowledge and expertise as a member of our Executive Committee and as continuing Co-Chair of the Network’s Education and Professional Development Working Party.

Sandeep Gupta
Sandeep Gupta

We welcome the Sandeep Gupta as the new Allied Health/Nursing Co-Chair.

Sandeep is Head of Physiotherapy at Balmain Hospital. He is experienced in the provision of rehabilitation in an allied health capacity in a variety of settings and for a broad range of conditions. Sandeep has been an active member of the Network and assisted in the development of the Minimum Standards: Care of the Person Following Amputation.

He is also an active member of two data committees: the NSW Sub and Non-Acute ABF Working Group and the Sydney Local Health District Allied Health Data Governance Committee. Sandeep holds a Masters by Research, is an author on five journal publications and is currently involved in two research studies. He is interested in research, data, education and training, and change management to improve patient care.

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