Friday, 22 May 2015

Gippsland simulation training open for viewing

Simulation learning facilities are opening their doors to the Gippsland community in May.

Simulated learning facilities for health professionals and students in the Gippsland region will open their doors in May.

Simulation facilities at the Monash University Department of Rural and Indigneous Health (MUDRIH), Latrobe Community Health Service and Latrobe Regional Hospital will conduct open days on 25 and 26 May. The Gippsland Simulation Showcase will welcome service clubs, secondary schools, training providers, Ambulance Victoria and local councils and businesses to demonstrate the advantages ‘simulation’ has to offer more broadly in the community.

“We want to continue the expansion of simulation learning,” Dr Waller said. “These sorts of activities can be adapted for any organisation, whether it is in human resources, occupational health and safety, aged care….the method can be applied widely.”

The powerful learning tool is finding favour with students and health professionals across Gippsland and has recently had its Commonwealth Government funding extended.

Pioneered by Monash School of Rural Health, Extended Gippsland Regional Interprofessional Partnership in Simulation (EGRIPS) has expanded across the region in recent years, seeing a range of services and organisations partner to deliver multiple facilitated clinics for the benefit of students and existing health professionals.

School of Rural Health Senior Lecturer, Dr Susan Waller, who is based at Monash University Department of Rural and Indigenous Health (MUDRIH) in Moe, currently works as project manager on EGRIPS project.

Dr Waller welcomed a recent announcement that EGRIPS would continue to receive funding support until the end of the year and will be collaborating with partners, Ramahyuck, Bass Coast Health, Central Gippsland Health Service, West Gippsland Health Group and Gippsland Lakes Community Health to ensure the sustainability of simulation resources into the future.

The benefits of simulated learning environments are now well documented and Dr Waller said ongoing support from Gippsland’s communities would be critical to seeing the model adopted widely.

“EGRIPS provides a great example of health sector interprofessional collaboration,” she said. “Clinical experiences are created in simulated scenarios to enable students to learn in a ‘safer’ environment, with the benefit of feedback from other students and clinicians who observe the activity.”

Dr Waller explained that EGIPS was an extended version of GRIPS, a program developed by Monash School of Rural Health and delivered for students on placement at Latrobe Community Health Service locations.

Simulated actors play the role of a ‘patient’ portraying presentations based on real-life cases and students or professionals then use a structured, holistic tool to interview those patients and develop collaborative plans for their care, according to Dr Waller.

At the conclusion of the assessment, the actors ‘de-role’ and provide feedback about how they felt during the activity. “The simulated actor is respected as a teacher,” she added. “Some of the most powerful learnings come from the ‘patients’ and they support the development of a reflective health practitioner.”

Other professionals and students are able to observe the interview ‘live’ – as it is conducted in a ‘sim-ready’ consulting room - then provide feedback

Interprofessional workshops are also held regularly at Latrobe Community Health Service, supported by the School of Rural Health. The workshops aim to broaden each student’s understanding of the role of their colleagues and explore ways to how work together within the ‘social model of health’.

 “The value of the community health experience to a person’s quality of life is better understood as students work on case studies together and share their experiences in collaborative activities,” Dr Waller said.

Open day details

Gippsland Simulation Showcase
Latrobe Regional Hospital, Monday 25 May 2015, 9.00am-10.00am and 10.30am-11.30am
Latrobe Community Health Service Moe, Tuesday 26 May 2015, 2.00pm-4:30 pm

For further information contact Dr Susan Waller 0410 505 299

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Latrobe Valley team supports global health project

Helen Chambers (left) and Dr Hanan Khalil (right) based in Mode, operate one of 72 global research nodes. (Image courtesy Latrobe Valley Express)

Medical professionals across the world searching for answers about the management of chronic diseases are being supported by a research project in the Latrobe Valley.

The Centre for Chronic Disease Management is a collaboration between Monash University’s School of Rural health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Latrobe Regional Hospital and Latrobe Community Health Service.

The centre scours the globe for the best available research and makes it available to clinicians who subscribe to the Joanna Briggs Institute, an international research and development facility through the University of Adelaide.

JBI has about 100,000 health care subscribers globally and the Moe-based centre is one of 72 JBI research nodes across the world.

The centre’s director, Dr Hanan Khalis, said the project’s objective was to improve patient care by educating clinicians.

Its efforts so far have been recognised by three international awards.

“It’s about bringing together all the research on a topic so clinicians have a better understand of how to help a patient. We take the best evidence that’s out there, critically appraise it and summarise the information. It then goes through a peer review process and is uploaded to the internet as an evidence summary resource for clinicians worldwide,” Dr Khalil said.

“If a clinician is presented with a question from a patient, such as whether vitamin B12 will help a diabetic with nerve pain, they can access this resource tool and find the answer.”

“If a clinician is presented with a question from a patient, such as whether vitamin B12 will help a diabetic with nerve pain, they can access this resource tool and find the answer.”

The centre has completed 150 evidence summaries with another 30 in the pipeline.  Some look at the impact of alcohol on conditions like asthma or depression, or how smoking affects respiratory conditions and mental illnesses.

Thirty one ‘recommended practices’, which instruct clinicians on how to treat a patient with a particular condition, are also available.

“We know there is a huge burden of chronic disease in Gippsland, especially in rural areas where people may not have access to specialist health professionals.  We believe that by targeting chronic disease, we may be able to help clinicians provide a greater level of care in this region and elsewhere,” Dr Khalil said.

Statistics from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the United States show chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease account for about 60 per cent of all deaths globally, with more than three quarters of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries.

One of the growth areas in the management of chronic diseases is in the use of over-the-counter complementary medicines or vitamins by patients looking for relief or an alternative to the side effects of traditional medicines.

Clinicians have been left to grapple with issues like whether the vitamin is safe or whether it has done anything at all to improve the patient’s health.

However, there are challenges in ensuring the evidence that has been gathered is of interest and relevant to clinicians across the world.

Helen Chambers who is a project officer for JBI and a research officer with the Monash University Department of Rural and Indigenous Health, said the evidence summaries and the recommended practices had to take into account the limitations faced by clinicians in other countries.

“We need to be aware that we may have been looking at studies from Western countries and the evidence summaries are being read by people from third-world countries where they may not have the resources to try a particular medical intervention,” she said.

“So we acknowledge in the summary that we have presented the best available evidence but it might not be suitable if there is a lack of resources.”

The evidence summaries are updated each year as further information is sourced and research uncovers new findings.

The Centre for Chronic Disease Management has recently had a paper accepted for publication in the prestigious international journal, ‘Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing’.

Dr Khalil is also the editor-in-chief and Helen Chambers the managing editor of another highly regarded publication, the International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare.

Originally published in the Latrobe Valley Express 11 May 2015

Student raises funds for new Swan Hill hospice



Laura Nield is a Monash Year 4 ERC student who is currently placed in Swan Hill.

Laura is running a half marathon this year – she has signed up for the Run Melbourne half marathon in July, with the intention of running to help raise funds for the Swan Hill hospice fund.

As Swan Hill District Health currently does not offer any hospice options for its patients, the money raised from fundraising will go towards the development of a hospice in the town. Currently $30,000 has been raised, with a target of $100,000.

If you are interested in donating to this worthwhile cause, please visit Laura’s fundraising page.