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HE A LT H Happenings

March 2018

Surgical innovation and Fellowship pioneered at TTH Inside this issue...

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Palliative care art project, page 3

Primary school readiness, page 7

Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings


Our Vision A healthy North Queensland

Our Values Integrity Compassion Accountability Respect Engagement

Message from the Chair Since our last edition, I am pleased to share with you that we have launched the Townsville Hospital and Health Service Health Services Plan 2018-2028 and Children and Young People Strategy 2018-2028.

Our Purpose To deliver quality public health services, education and research for the Townsville region and tertiary health care for North Queensland

The Health Service Plan looks specifically at key planning priorities for the next decade and will lay the foundations to provide more and better care to the North Queensland community. The Children and Young People Strategy is a first for the Townsville Hospital and Health Service and focusses on delivering coordinated health pathways and care closer to home for children and young people. I’d like to especially thank the many staff and community members who have helped shape these documents with their valuable insights into how care can be best developed and delivered to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients, consumers and communities. I hope that you enjoy reading more about the plans in this edition of Health Happenings and the innovative and ground-breaking work being done at the Townsville Hospital and Health Service. Tony Mooney AM Chair Townsville Hospital and Health Board

We value your feedback Townsville Hospital and Health Service welcomes your feedback, contributions and suggestions. To submit your feedback please contact the Patient Feedback Service: (07) 4433 1074 Patient Feedback Service, Townsville Hospital PO Box 670, Townsville Q 4810

Acknowledgment to Traditional Owners The Townsville Hospital and Health Service respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians both past and present of the land and sea which we service and declare the Townsville Hospital and Health Service commitment to reducing inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes in line with the Australian Government’s Closing the Gap initiative.

Townsville Hospital palliative care volunteer coordinator Marnie Coombes and Tracey Rowe from local business Art Easier

Palliative care volunteer brings brighter days with art project


Tracey said the response from patients and visitors had been overwhelming.

Tracey Rowe from local business Art Easier said the no-mess art project was conceived after her own experience with cancer.

“Patients will often create the artwork for their loved ones; a lot of thought goes into each piece and it gives patients an opportunity to express themselves, particularly those who may find it difficult to find the right words to say,” she said.

Townsville Hospital palliative care volunteer is using art therapy to brighten up the lives of patients and their visitors.

“I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer myself in 2014,” she said. “I found painting very therapeutic and wanted to bring this experience to others.” Tracey said one of the barriers to painting for patients while in hospital was the mess. “Obviously it isn’t practical to do things like bring paint and easels into rooms so my daughter worked for weeks to develop this no-mess method of painting,” she said. “It’s so easy that a person of any age and skill level can do it.”

Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings

“Each piece is unique and from the heart so we make sure to use professional-grade equipment so that the artwork lasts; sometimes it may be one of the last gifts that someone receives from their loved one.” Tracey said the project was popular with visitors as well as patients. “Creating the artwork makes people’s experiences in palliative care more positive, and creates some special memories,” she said. You can find out more about Tracey’s artwork by visiting her Facebook site or emailing


Surgical innovation and Fellowship pioneered at TTH


hen 41-year-old Annalisa Morgan came to see gynaecologist and surgeon Dr Jay Iyer at The Townsville Hospital after months of agonising pelvic pain, bleeding and fainting spells she was at her wits’ end. The pain, caused by massive uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterine muscle layer, was cruelling her quality of life. An added anxiety was her fear of a major abdominal operation and lengthy recovery.

Dr Jay Iyer, Annalisa Morgan and Dr Sapna Dilgir at The Townsville Hospital

Dr Iyer said Annalisa’s was one of his more challenging surgeries. “Annalisa had the perfect storm of symptoms - severe pain, bleeding and pressure - and the mass in her uterus was the size of a six-month-old foetus,” he said. “I wanted to spare her major abdominal surgery and a long recovery; I was confident that despite the size of her fibroids she could be treated safely with a good outcome using keyhole surgery.”

Dr Iyer, an advanced laparoscopic and pelvic floor surgeon, who is leading the way in minimally invasive surgery for women in North Queensland with severe pelvic conditions, had the answers.

Annalisa described her surgery as life-changing.

In a three-hour operation last month, Dr Iyer removed Annalisa’s uterus and fibroids through her bellybutton sparing her a major cut in her belly.

“I can’t thank Dr Iyer and the hospital enough for the wonderful care I received.”

“The pain is gone and I’m back to living a normal life,” she said.

“I’m very proud that The Townsville Hospital is the first non-metropolitan public hospital in Australia to offer pelvic laparoscopic surgery for women like Annalisa,” he said.

The Townsville Hospital was also recently accredited by the Australasian Gynaecological Endoscopy Surgery (AGES) Society to run the prestigious two-year Laparoscopic Fellowship in Advanced Laparoscopic and Pelvic Floor Surgery.

“It means we can treat our patients with a technique normally only seen in capital city hospitals close to where they live.”

The program will be run by Dr Iyer and Townsville Hospital director of urogynaecology Professor Ajay Rane.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings


Medical titles explained

Lee Smith Consultant

Townsville Hospital and Health Service

Lee Smith

Enrolled Nurse

Townsville Hospital and Health Service

Have you ever noticed that doctors can have a range of different titles? Each of these titles has a unique meaning and identifies the doctor’s level of training. Here is what the different medical titles mean: Medical Student: A university student currently undertaking medical studies to qualify as a medical doctor. Intern: A doctor who has graduated from university medical studies in his/ her first year of practice after being awarded a medical degree. Interns work across the hospital in a diverse range of specialist departments. Junior House Officer (JHO): A junior doctor is in his/her second year of practice after being awarded a medical degree. JHOs work across the hospital in a diverse range of specialist departments. Senior House Officer (SHO): A junior doctor in his/her third year or more of practice after being awarded a medical degree. SHOs work across the hospital in a diverse range of specialist departments.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings

Resident Medical Officer (RMO): A junior doctor who works across the hospital service and is not yet on a training program to be a consultant. This term includes all interns, JHO and SHOs. Principal House Officer (PHO): A doctor in his/her third year of work or more and working within a single specialist area. Registrar: A doctor in his/her third year or more of work and currently on a training program with a specialist college to become a consultant specialist. Consultant: A doctor who has completed training with a specialist college and is recognised as having specialised skills. The consultant is the senior and most experienced doctor in the medical team.


Board Chair Tony Mooney, Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rouke, HSCE Dr Peter Bristow, Minister Steven Miles, Member for Townsville Scott Stewart and Board member Debra Burden

Townsville Health Service Plan launch


n 25 January, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles MP helped launch the Townsville Hospital and Health Service’s Health Service Plan 2018-2028 and Children and Young People Strategy 2018 – 2028 at the Robert Douglas Auditorium. The plans were the result of extensive consultation with stakeholders including staff and community. Minister Miles thanked health service staff for the opportunity to participate in such an important occasion. “Every year more and more people look to the public health system for care and every year you all rise to the challenge in delivering timely, safe and compassionate care to your communities,” he said. “Planning draws in an extraordinary amount of information from demographics, to health trends, to anecdotal feedback from clinicians and health stakeholders to emerging technologies.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings

“These things all contribute to providing a picture of the health opportunities and challenges that we will all face together in the future. “By understanding these challenges and opportunities we give ourselves the best chance to meet the needs of our community.” Board Chair Tony Mooney congratulated everyone involved in the development of the plans and thanked the more than 100 people who attended the launch. “These plans can only be living documents with your engagement and your investment,” he said. “These plans underpin the organisation’s strategic plan 2018-2022 which will chart the overall direction of the Townsville Hospital and Health Service for the next four years. “I’m looking forward to the launch of the strategic plan and the exciting times ahead for the Townsville Hospital and Health Service.”


Primary school readiness the vision for child health program


Townsville HHS program is assessing prep children for vision deficits to ensure they don’t negatively impact the child’s education. Primary School Health Nurse Readiness Program nurse Julie-Ann Douglas said that the early identification and rectification of vision problems resulted in better school achievement, reduction in behaviour issues and improved health outcomes. “This leads to more productive and healthier lives across a child’s lifespan,” she said. Julie-Ann said a variety of tactics were used to assess the child’s vision. “Two types of testing are performed on children in prep, the first being the standard one-eye-at-a-time letter-matching test that people are familiar with,” she said. “We ask children to play a ‘Pirate Game’ where the children wear an eye patch and match shapes of various sizes. “Every child wins, and when they do they receive a sticker. “The second test involves a photoscreener taking photographs of the child’s eyes to detect other potential vision issues and the children look at

Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings

Primary School Health Nurse Readiness Program nurses Melanie Hemmett, Keri Palazzi and Julie-Ann Douglas

some flashing lights and listen to birds chirping while the photo is taken.” Julie-Ann said the results of the testing meant quick action could be taken if any vision deficits were identified. “After the testing, parents are provided with results and if the testing reveals any issues, the nurses who perform the testing will talk with the parent or guardian about recommendations for further testing with an optometrist or ophthalmologist,” she said. Another nurse with the program, Melanie Hemmett, said it was easy for children to have their vision tested through the free service. “Throughout the year, my team will contact schools to ask if they would like to participate in the program,” she said. “The school then assists with providing information to the parents through the school newsletter or Facebook page. “Parents must complete a consent form in order for their child to be screened.” For more information call the program team on 4433 9000 or talk to your child’s school. 7

Townsville HHS consumers are patients, carers and community members who want to have a say in healthcare planning, design and evaluation. In 2017 some of the key achievements of a consumer partnerships included:

Health Service Plan

End-of-Life Resource Box

Consumers provided their input into the Health Service Plan by telling us what they wanted from local healthcare in the next 10 years.

THHS consumers supported the development of the End-of-Life Resource Box. The box contains items to assist ward staff to deliver more sensitive care when a patient is passing away. Consumers selected the images used for the resources and assisted in developing content for a booklet provided to families and carers.

Patient and Carer Stories A number of consumers shared their healthcare stories on video. These videos support staff learning and are used in staff training and supervision sessions.

Review of Healthcare Standards Boards Consumers reviewed information on the wards about the healthcare standards and current activities to improve safety and quality. Their recommendations were endorsed and the information will be simplified and digital screens used to present the information.assisted in developing content for a booklet provided to families and carers.

Patient Information Information developed by Townsville HHS for our patients and carers was reviewed by consumers to ensure it was written in easy to understand language and suited the needs of people in the community. Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings

If you are interested in contributing in similar initiatives in 2018 as a consumer please email or call Jo on (07) 4433 2122. 8

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End-of-life care campaign


Hospital Townsville Service and Health

The Townsville Hospital and Health Service has been taking part in a Queensland-wide campaign, Care at End of Life, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of discussing and planning for care at the end of life. The issue: In the next 25 years the number of Australians who die each year will double. In 2014-15, of the 30,000 people who died in Queensland, over half (15,678) died in hospital. Although many people prefer to die at home, the uptake of advance care planning has been slow. Discussing and/or documenting choices for future healthcare maximises the likelihood that personal choices will be respected. Research shows that although 90 per cent of people believe talking about care at the end of life is important, only 27 per cent have actually done so. Common barriers to end-of-life and advance care planning discussions are a lack of awareness and understanding about care at end of life as well as a lack of knowledge on where to find more information and documentation. Brochures, posters and other promotional items have been distributed to clinical areas throughout the health service. Other activities include education sessions to the staff and the public in addition to attending various forums and events in the community. For more about the Queensland Health campaign visit: For more information about the campaign at the Townsville Hospital and Health Service please email Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings

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The Person Centred Care Unit has developed and distributed a set of resources to support end-of-life care on the ward. The resources help our staff to ensure compassionate care is provided and includes a sign to alert staff, a condolence card, a booklet to assist people with grief and practical issues following the passing of a loved one, and a bag to collect the person’s belongings. The butterfly used on the resources was selected by consumers as being an appropriate symbol of transition. Consultation with various cultural and religious groups in the community confirmed the butterfly was also an appropriate symbol for diverse beliefs and values. Staff are grateful to have the resources and say that it will help them manage an already difficult situation for families with greater sensitivity.


Questions are an important part of healthcare communication. They help patients and carers clarify information, identify options and develop confidence in their healthcare. But sometimes it can be hard to think of the right questions to ask in the moment!

BRAN may help you remember the important things to ask when in an appointment with a health professional:

Benefits What are the expected benefits of this test, procedure or treatment? How likely are the benefits?

Risks What are the risks associated with this test, procedure or treatment? How likely are these risks?

Alternatives What are the alternative options when it comes to tests, procedures or treatments? What might be best for me in my situation?

Nothing What happens if I do nothing? If I have no tests, procedures or treatments what are the likely outcomes?

Increasing your understanding of healthcare increases the likelihood you will be happy and confident in the outcome. Health Direct Questions builder is a helpful tool when it comes to preparing Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTHin Happenings for questions your health appointments.


Care consultant Sharyn Van Eerde and occupational therapist Luciana Theodoro de Freitas with consumer and carer representative Marianne Joseph

Townsville Mental Health Service Group Consumer and Carer Representative Program The Townsville Mental Health Service Group acknowledges the value consumers, carers and family can add in the development of mental health services. Their involvement in service planning, development and evaluation is recognised as best practice. In recent years there has been an increased focus on the development and delivery of recoveryoriented services. To enhance mental health, consumers and carers are being engaged by the service where their voice and perspectives can be heard and valued and contribute to service planning, delivery and evaluation. The contributions of consumer and carer representatives will help to improve and support the Mental Health Service Group. These positions require experience as a mental health consumer or carer and the ability to present lived experience perspectives and practical advice that reflects consumers’ and carers’ experiences relevant to mental health within Townsville and surrounding areas. Consumer and carer representatives are engaged to represent the voice of consumers and/or carers at mental health service meetings and working groups, staff training, consultation forums, staff

Townsville Hospital and Health Service: HEALTH Happenings

recruitment and special projects and are paid a sitting fee for approved activities. People who are able to represent one or more of the following groups are especially encouraged to apply: xx Consumers, carers xx Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities xx People from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds xx Rural and remote communities Representatives will be paid an hourly sitting fee for their attendance at meetings and engagement activities approved for sitting fees and will be supported with orientation and training as required. If you would like further information about becoming a Mental Health Service Group consumer/carer representative please contact the Mental Health Service Group Consumer/Carer Consultant. Phone Sharyn on 4433 8138 or email


Health Happenings March 2018  
Health Happenings March 2018