Victoria’s Peninsula Private Hospital is providing patients with a link between the hospital and home with the new Ramsay Connect Liaison Nurse service.
Michelle McCormick has taken up the role, working closely with clinical leadership, nursing, allied health, and medical staff, with the aim of strengthening the integration of hospital and community care for patients.
“My job is to act as a liaison between the hospital and the community, making the transition from hospital to home much easier,” she said of her position, the first of its kind at Ramsay Health Care Australia's home and community-based care division.
“The service actually starts in the hospital, we speak with the patient and make sure they know what’s happening and then when they’re at home, we are that link for them with their community and hospital care teams,” she added.
Ramsay Connect CEO Ian Galvin said the hospital – which serves the Frankston and Mornington regions southeast of Melbourne – had been providing in-home care for a couple of years, and one of the biggest challenges had been “change management”.
“The first days and weeks following a hospital stay can be difficult, and we hope Michelle can provide some additional comfort and support to patients to optimise their recovery.
“The clinical outcomes for patients are the same, but there is a benefit to being in your own environment and having that social support, particularly for older patients,” he said.
“There’s also less of a risk of things like infection, which unfortunately do come with that hospital environment.”
Michelle agreed, adding most patients preferred to be at home.
“This service is for people who are well enough to go home, but they need a registered nurse to come once a day and look after a couple of things,” she said.
“So we offer things like helping people who are on intravenous antibiotics, we help change dressings and wound care – things like that.
“And once they’re home we’re always available at any time, we’re a constant link between the patient and the hospital. If they need to come back into the hospital, they can.
“I think psychologically, it’s better for patients to be at home. Medically it won’t make a difference, but for recovery and mental health, you just feel better when you’re at home.
“Especially during the pandemic when people haven’t been allowed to have visitors, being home with family is much nicer.”
Mr Galvin said there were benefits for the health system as well – Ramsay Connect has supported nearly 4,400 people since launching in 2020.
“It’s cheaper to be caring for people at home rather than in hospital,” he said.
“A challenge that all hospitals are facing right now is they’re either very full, or there are staffing challenges due to COVID, so this service eases that burden.”
Michelle said she was delighted to take up the new challenge at Langwarrin-based Peninsula Private Hospital, where she has worked as a registered nurse, assistant nurse unit manager, and clinical documentation specialist.
“It’s an exciting time for the hospital, we’re expanding this program and it will be good to see how this grows, so watch this space,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ramsay Health Care is also expanding its Nursing and Midwifery Academy as the group seeks to meet the growing challenge of clinical workforce shortages.
It is adding two new programs to the four foundation courses offered when the academy launched in 2021, supporting the career paths of hundreds more nurses and midwives in Australia.
The Leadership Pathway Program will provide professional development, mentorship and leadership training opportunities to Ramsay’s 500-plus nationwide cohort of nurse and midwifery unit managers, who play a key role in frontline patient care.
The Undergraduate Cadetship Program is designed to support enrolled and registered nursing cadets during their studies, offering them relevant employment opportunities and a guaranteed post-graduation interview.
“We’re lucky to have some of the best nurses in the country and we are committed to prioritising initiatives to grow and strengthen our workforce,” Ramsay Australia CEO Carmel Monaghan said.
“We want to help our people develop and build their nursing and midwifery careers with Ramsay.”