Mildura Base Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care


Top quality care recognised at Mildura Base Hospital

Mar 29, 2019

AN innovative approach to tracking chemotherapy treatment has won Mildura Base Hospital’s top staff accolade for 2018.

The Chemotherapy Patient Diary was created by oncology nurse Sarah Davies and pharmacist Anastasia Peripetsakis and this week received the 2018 MBH Quality Award, recognising the important patient outcomes it has helped generate.

The diaries were developed when oncology staff identified a need for better communication tools for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“We basically developed a diary to record information on the patient’s current treatment, their appointments, medications, and important contact numbers,” Ms Peripetsakis said.

“Each diary includes space for health professionals to note important information and for patients to reflect on their treatment, side effects and how they’re feeling, and to list any questions they may have for their specialist team,” she said.

“For someone undergoing chemotherapy, there’s a lot of information to absorb from nursing and pharmacy staff and the specialist team. It’s often difficult for patients to absorb everything they’re being told and also to recall any non-urgent treatment concerns and questions between appointments. They now have somewhere to write these down.”

Ms Davies said the Chemotherapy Patient Diary initiative originally began with a focus on patients receiving oral chemotherapy.

“We had a few terrific patients provide us with feedback as we developed the right format during the trial period, and during that time we saw there were benefits for all patients receiving chemotherapy, so the diaries were made accessible to everyone,” she explained.

“It’s been a really helpful initiative and it surprised us which patients use them. Often patients that you don’t expect to use them are the most enthusiastic about the diary.

“But pretty much everyone who uses them finds they help them feel more control over their treatment and their health and that’s a key outcome.”

Gayle Danson, Chair of the MBH Community Advisory Committee, presented the award to Sarah and Anastasia in today’s MBH Quality Awards ceremony. “It’s a fantastic initiative which supports true partnering with patients on their health care needs” Ms Danson says.

The project is supported by Sunraysia Cancer Resources which provides funding for the diaries to be published.

The MBH Quality Awards also recognised the hospital’s Employees of the Year, who are selected through peer nomination for quality services.

The Clinical employee of the year was popular and long-serving registered nurse, Jackie Hale, who began her training as a teenager.

“I never wanted to be anything except a nurse, and I’m stunned to receive the award. I just feel lucky to do something that I absolutely love, and I try to help younger nurses coming through to enjoy our job as much as I do,” Jackie said.

Support staff employee of the year was Jodie Caminiti, who is a Personal Care Attendant. Her citation recognised her initiative in investigating and sourcing specially-designed coffee and tea cups to make it easier for elderly patients to safely manage hot beverages.

The new cups were rolled out across the hospital during 2018.

“I’d noticed how much trouble some of our elderly patients had with the china cups, and I thought there had to be something better for them,” Jodie said.

“It might seem like only a little thing for most people, but it’s amazing how much better people feel if they can easily manage something simple like enjoying a ‘cuppa’,” she said.

The awards recognise the hospital’s top achievers in quality-improvement activities each year.

“There are individuals and teams across the hospital who are dedicated not just to doing their job well, but also thinking all the time about ways they can do it better in the future and get better outcomes for our patients,” MBH CEO Julia Morgan said.

“That’s something to be proud of as a hospital, but also as a community.”