Nurses’ staff assistance program earns national award

As Australia continues to struggles with the effects of suicide on families, communities and the nation, the work of two nurses over more than six decades has earned them the Catholic Health Australia Nurse of the Year award.

Sian James and Maria Field developed and have for many years presented a suicide prevention workshop for staff at St John of God Hospitals in Richmond and Burwood – both private psychiatric facilities in New South Wales. With many of the hospitals' patients having attempted suicide, the nurses realised that hospital staff needed training and support in how best to deal with individuals expressing suicidal ideation or having attempted suicide.

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Ground-breaking research earns national award

First-of-its-kind research assessing the long-term effects of anaesthesia and surgery on older people with mild age-related loss of memory, reasoning and decision-making has earned a hospital department the Catholic Health Australia Leadership in Positive Ageing award.

The study, being conducted by St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne's anaesthetics department under the leadership of Associate Professor David Scott, continues the department's long history of clinical practice in caring for the aged. The department has also initiated a drive for more thorough pre-operative assessment of cognition.

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St John of God Sister honoured for lifetime of service, leadership

From the training grounds of country Victoria to an Irish university, en route to hospitals in Western Australia, Hong Kong and Pakistan and back to Australia again, St John of God Sister Isobel Moran has been a trailblazer in Catholic health and aged care for more than 50 years.

Her enduring contribution to the Catholic health and aged care community in Australia was last night recognised with her announcement as the fourth recipient of the Sr Maria Cunningham Lifetime Contribution Award at the Catholic Health Australia awards dinner in Melbourne.

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Coalition health policy acknowledges Catholic hospitals' training role

Catholic Health Australia has welcomed the Coalition's commitment to think outside the square in the training of increasing numbers of medical graduates, with Catholic hospitals' role in training acknowledged in the Support Australia's Health System document launched today.

CHA chief executive officer Martin Laverty said the network of 75 hospitals in the Catholic network welcomed the Coalition's commitment of $40 million for medical internships in private and non-traditional settings.

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Politicians told "MEND MEDICARE!"

Medicare is failing while our politicians turn a blind eye to the widespread and growing inequities facing those needing treatment. Out-of-pocket health costs running into thousands of dollars a year for families and seniors, lengthening delays for elective surgery and widespread disparities in access to doctors and other health professionals demonstrate the emergence of a two-tier health system: Full treatment for the well off and patchy care for the rest.

Click here to access the MEND MEDICARE document.

Click here to view a video of Martin Laverty explaining why politicians need to MEND MEDICARE

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Changes to aged care mustn’t affect poorest of the poor

The decision announced in today's Pre-Election Statement to introduce a national fees policy for the Home Support Program must not lead to reduced access to care by older Australians, and particularly the poorest and most frail members of that group, Catholic Health Australia has urged.

Treasurer Chris Bowen's announcement will allow millions of dollars in savings under the Home Support Program by requiring some older Australians to make greater contributions to their own care costs, and importantly ensure that people around the country with the same financial means contribute the same for their care services.

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One third of aged care providers not breaking even

The release of analysis into the financial sustainability of aged care providers points to the need for aged care to play a key role in the 2013 federal election, according to the organisation representing one of the largest aged care networks in Australia.

An Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) report released today found 30 per cent of aged care providers failed to break even in the last year, which Catholic Health Australia's CEO Martin Laverty said underscored the need for a continuing focus on aged care reform.

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Investigate unacceptable aged care and improve palliative care

Any reports of unacceptable care – or lack of care – for older Australians should be reported to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme immediately and investigated thoroughly, lest the aged care industry as a whole be tarnished by disturbing stories that appear in the media, the head of one of the nation's largest network of aged care providers has said.

Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty was responding to stories aired on ABC's Lateline program last night in which families shared stories of their loved ones' experiences in aged care facilities.

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Medicare is broken, despite Rudd and Gillard health reforms

Rudd and Gillard Government health reforms have delivered no measurable improvements in national hospital performance, a conference of health experts will hear in Adelaide this morning.

The head of the nation's largest network of non-government hospitals and aged care services will argue both sides of politics must commit at the 2013 election to an overhaul of the 30-year-old Medicare system, in light of data showing average emergency department waiting times have improved only marginally and elective surgery waiting times have actually increased over the life of the Rudd and Gillard Governments.

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CHA, ACU award $20,000 in grants for professional development

Catholic Health Australia and Australian Catholic University this week awarded a round of eight grants of $2,500 each for professional development for nurses and midwives working in Catholic hospitals, reflecting a $20,000 investment in a program which was originally launched in 2011. The grants were established in response to the 2010 publication of the CHA Nurse and Midwifery Project report, which recommended a focus on providing professional development options for senior nurses and midwives.

Australian Catholic University dean of health sciences Professor Michelle Campbell said ACU understands the importance of nurses already in the workforce being able to learn new skills from other health care facilities.

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Aged care reform passage good news for older Australians

Older Australians will wake up this morning with the knowledge that a big step forward has been taken in ensuring they will get the care they deserve – the result of many years of lobbying by the aged care sector, including Catholic Health Australia.

Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty said it was encouraging to see many of his organisation's recommendations adopted through a series of amendments during debate in the Senate, including the establishment of a $6.9 million transitional fund to help aged care providers, especially smaller providers, during the rollout of reforms.

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