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March 2020

Mother and daughter jpeg
Ebony Albon and her daughter, Maisie, at Northern Hospital.

Hospital kids come home to the northern suburbs

A partnership between Northern Health and the Royal Children’s Hospital has proven an outstanding success.

The partnership, developed jointly by the heads of paediatrics and nurse unit managers at Northern Hospital and the RCH, is designed to allow children from the north to be cared for closer to home.

Northern Health offers two beds per day for children who live in the catchment to be transferred from the RCH.

They are cared for by Northern Health’s paediatricians, paediatric nurses and allied health staff.

In the first 12 months of the partnership, 84 patients were transferred – the equivalent of 146 bed days freed up at the RCH.

Northern Health has since collected feedback from patients and families on their satisfaction with the service, receiving an average rating of 9.2 on a scale of one to 10.

Ninety per cent of patients and families also noted they would return to Northern Hospital as their first choice closer to home.

‘This partnership with the Royal Children’s has been an important part of caring for children – closer to their home,’ said Northern Health clinical director of paediatrics David Tran.

‘It helps the community build trust in our paediatric care and allows for their ongoing inpatient and outpatient follow-up to be managed through Northern Health.’

The Northern Health paediatric unit also recently organised an educational seminar for local maternal and child health nurses.

Thirty MCHNs represented Hume, Moreland, Whittlesea, Mitchell and Nillumbik councils.

Northern Health paediatricians, allied health clinicians and nursing staff volunteered their time to present a topic of interest to the community-based MCHNs.

‘It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with some of our key primary carers and provide updates on some important paediatric topics such as management of the pre-term infants at home, feeding issues and gross motor delays in premature infants,’ Dr Tran said.

The feedback from the MCHNs was overwhelmingly positive with a strong interest in further partnerships and educational activities with Northern Health.