• Award for improving older patients’ lives

    Robina Private Hospital has been recognised for its role in changing the lives of older people and their carers with a prestigious national industry award.

    The Gold Coast facility won the ‘Clinical Excellence: Quality of care and patient outcomes’ category for its Older Persons Mental Health service at the Australian Private Hospitals Association’s 2023 APHA Awards for Excellence. 

    The program provides care for older people suffering from mental health conditions, cognitive disorders, and medical co-morbidities. 

    Robina Private Hospital CEO Heidi Smith said she was delighted with the award, which was presented at the APHA 40th National Congress in late March.

    “We’re very proud of the award, it’s a significant one for our staff and doctors, and we certainly appreciate the APHA for recognising their hard work,” she said.

    Robina Private was selected ahead of fellow category finalists Sydney Adventist Hospital (‘Quality Improvement In Interventional Angiography’) and Epworth HealthCare (‘Voluntary Assisted Dying Model Of Care’).

    The awards’ panel of judges said the program could be widely replicated through professional networks and collaborations.

    “There has been demonstrative improvement to clinical services and outcomes, and detailed involvement of hospital team members at every level and throughout,” the judges said.

    Participation in the Healthy Minds day program at Robina Private Hospital has increased significantly, while staff have also completed online learning provided by Dementia Australia to become a “dementia friend”, raising awareness and staff engagement for dementia services, improving patient experience.

    “At the Congress, I had a lot of people come up to me and say they had difficulty in finding services for their elderly parents, so this is really personal for a lot of people,” Ms Smith said.

    “And it’s great that this service, just operating out of the Gold Coast, has had this impact in our community and that people know there’s something like this out there.”

    In-patient care is a collaborative environment at Robina Private Hospital, and the Older Persons Mental Health unit works alongside a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team and collaborates with allied health professionals and physicians to create a multi-faceted program.

    “Certainly, we’re seeing better quality of life for our patients, and better support for their carers,” Ms Smith said. 

    “We see significant changes from when our patients first make contact, to engaging in group therapy, and making friends with other people who have similar health issues, and that is very encouraging.

    “We definitely want to expand the service, and we’re open to collaborating with anyone who would like to see that happen.”

    The service is regularly reviewed to see where improvements could be made, and staff training is ongoing at the Aurora Healthcare Australia-operated facility.

    Ms Smith said the entire team “worked so hard” on providing the Older Persons Mental Health program.

    “Our Director of Older Persons Mental Health, psychogeriatrician Dr Penny King, has really been the driver of this, and all our allied health staff, our social workers, occupational therapists, nurses, mental health registered nurses, right down to the admin team,” she said.

    “They really put everything into this service, from the first contact people have with us to helping our patients regain their confidence.

    “It’s a whole team effort and we’re so proud of them.”

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