Bendigo Health Quality of Care 2014-2015


I am pleased to introduce to you our Quality of Care Report for 2014/15. This report provides us with the opportunity to showcase various quality improvements implemented and underway across Bendigo Health.

Each year, preparing this report provides an opportunity to reflect on the commitment of our staff who despite the demands of their roles are constantly finding innovative ways to improve the safety and quality of both the care and treatment we provide.

Our staff are proud of their work, proud of their workplace and passionate about the care they give. It's their skill, dedication and hard work that puts the patient at the centre of everything we do.

Safety and quality underpin all of our processes and protocols and in this domain our work is never done. We work hard to monitor the care we provide and to seek feedback from our consumers about the services they receive. Suggestions for improvement can come from anywhere, including the experiences of our patients.

Reading this report you will be given insights into the experiences of just three of the more than 100,000 patients we treated in the 2014/15 reporting period. Reading their accounts is a humbling experience and I thank them for sharing their stories. Our patients are the reason we come to work each day and here at Bendigo Health we believe that every patient deserves to receive the best of care and to be safe. Our values of Caring, Passionate and Trustworthy which were developed by our staff go a long way to helping us achieve this.

Bendigo Health is working towards a vision of Healthy Communities and World Class Healthcare. We believe our role is to empower people and work together. The stories shared in this report demonstrate that we are living this, which is in no small part due to the commitment we have from within our community to make Bendigo Health a truly world class regional health service. The members of our Community Advisory Committee are a wonderful example of this, in volunteering their time they provide the community with a voice at the decision making level of their health service and help us to understand the needs of our patients and their loved ones.

This report demonstrates the many ways our staff work to monitor, maintain and improve the quality and safety of the care and treatment they provide. We are proud to be delivering quality of care information to our community in an accessible and easy to understand way. The online report format has been designed to complement the Bendigo Health Strategic Plan (2013-2018). This year we have once again produced a series of printable downloads that feature consumer stories, recognising that not everyone wants to read the entire report online. We hope you find this approach accessible and informative. We welcome your feedback via the feedback link so that we can continue to improve presentation and content, making it relevant and accessible to the community that relies on our services.

The report was produced by our Quality Unit after extensive consultation with our Quality Care Council, Community Advisory Committee and our staff at Bendigo Health.

I hope you enjoy reading our stories as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.

John Mulder

Chief Executive Officer


Greater Bendigo and Loddon Mallee Demographics

The Loddon Mallee region is the largest of Victoria’s regions occupying more than a quarter of Victoria. Its provincial centre is Bendigo, and the geographical area stretches from Mildura in the north to Gisborne in the south.

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Sources used:

  1. Active Living Census 2014, City of Greater Bendigo & The Social Research Centre, Dec 2014.
  2. Community Health and Wellbeing Profile (BLPCP Community Profile 22 November 2012), 8 Apr 2015.
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 (
  4. City of Greater Bendigo Community Profile ( and
  5. MyRegion (
More Statistics for our Region

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Tell Us What You Think

Bendigo Health is committed to providing safe and high quality care for all our patients and to meet the needs of our diverse communities. We are always seeking ways to improve our services, and the mechanisms described below are just one way of providing us feedback.

Quality of Care Report 2014

The previous year’s Quality of Care Report was well received in our community. Readers liked the information on Bendigo Health initiatives and the different areas of the hospital, the online format, the infographics, and the feature consumer stories that gave the report a personal and approachable feel. This year, we have made the articles shorter and increased the number of audio-visual material which provide the reader a highly interactive snapshot of the health service.

Last year’s Quality of Care Report recorded a total of 3365 visits to the interactive website, during the period of November 2014 to the end of August 2015, which represents a 117% increase from the previous year.

Bendigo Health recognises the positive impact on accessibility the website has had and continues the same format this year. Additionally, printable downloads and brochures can be accessed for use in waiting rooms, wards, clinics, cafeterias and staff rooms across the Bendigo Health sites. Copies will also be shared with our community partners, such as GP practices, community health centres and aged care facilities.

Submit your feedback

on the Quality of Care Report 2015

We would like to hear what you think of the 2015 report, and welcome feedback from all patients, families, carers and community members.

To submit your feedback, please email or call the Consumer Participation Support Officer (, tel. (03) 5454 9078).

Compliments and Complaints

Bendigo Health views consumer feedback as a method to enhance this partnership, and accordingly we encourage all consumers to tell us about their experience with Bendigo Health.  Consumer feedback is provided to Bendigo Health through verbal, electronic and paper based methods which include our new feedback brochure. All feedback is treated seriously and confidentially and we make our best effort to respond to any concerns you may have regarding your hospital experience.

If you would like to provide feedback, please contact the Patient Feedback Coordinator:

Patient Feedback Coordinator
Bendigo Health
PO Box 126
Bendigo 3552
Ph: (03) 5454 9079

Complaint & Compliment types in 2014-2015

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Complaint & Compliment types in 2014-2015

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Compliment, Suggestion, Complaint

Comments received from our patients:

A very big Thank-You to the staff at Bendigo Health. The care I received during my treatment was by staff who cared for their patients, not just treated people because they had to. Patient at the Emergency Department and Surgical Ward

Your staff were of the highest quality in their profession duty of care to myself and other patients in that ward. It felt like going back to the sixties and seventies where Nursing was the highest quality of professions. Patient at the Intensive Care Unit

What Impressed me so much was the camaraderie that existed among all those members of staff who were all courteous and caring even under the most stressful times. I have no doubt that their outstanding care and attention to detail were the sole reason that I returned home three days after my major surgery. Patient at Bendigo Health
Consumer, Carer and Community Participation

Consumer, Carer and Community Participation

Towards a Clean Bill of Health

Consumer Story

Bill’s story is an extraordinary tale of defeating a malignant cancer that doctors did not believe he would survive. Today he speaks openly about his experience and invites men of all ages to be more in tune with their health.

Bill could not be more down-to-earth and inspirational. This young father of two should not really be here, having faced the toughest challenge one can imagine. Yet here he is full of life, sharing his story with anyone who is willing to listen.

Bill’s ordeal began in March 2011 when he started coughing up blood and went to see his GP. Some months earlier, he had noticed lumps on his testicles and a decline in his fitness, but it did not worry him much then. A chest X-ray was performed at Bendigo Radiology for what was initially suspected to be pneumonia, but the harsh reality started to unveil, as Bill describes it: “It was one of the moments when you know something is very wrong. My GP put her hand on my shoulder and told me I had metastatic lung disease.” Bill was never a smoker, and as a former police officer and military personnel he had always been health conscious. He was eventually diagnosed with an aggressive form of testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. “My wife Lauren asked the doctor if they had also checked my earlobes, whether there was anywhere that I didn’t have a tumour”, Bill laughs.

Chemotherapy was started at Bendigo Oncology, but Bill suffered a brain haemorrhage after his first treatment. He fell in a coma, had a stroke, and was urgently flown by a helicopter to Austin Health. Every conceivable treatment was given to remove the cancer from his body, including emergency brain surgery. “Bill would always have a crack, and if the cancer was going to kill him anyway, then there was nothing to lose”, Lauren reasoned. Over 20 tumours were cut out from his right lung which was a record in the southern hemisphere. A section of his brain was removed, resulting in the loss of ability to walk. The family were told to prepare for a life without Bill. Even if he did survive, serious trauma to his brain was to be expected.

Miraculously, Bill not only survived but made a full recovery without any lasting effects. He was transferred back to Bendigo Health for follow-up care. “Collaboration between Bendigo Health and Austin Health worked wonderfully. Austin Health had the expertise for my particular cancer, and they had all the faith in Bendigo Health to administer my care”, he says. Through intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy at the Anne Caudle Campus, the Eye Clinic and the Surgical Department, he gradually progressed from total paralysis to full body control. The healthy part of the brain took over the damaged part, and Bill re-learned to walk and run again.

Being able to recuperate at Bendigo Health had a great advantage: his family could visit him daily and the children could continue to go to school. “Bendigo Health accommodated us to 100% and did everything they could to make life as bearable as possible. We were fully included in the care plans and explained what was going to happen. It’s that personable touch that makes you feel like a human being”, he recalls.

At its peak, Bill’s cancer count was a striking 2.5 million beta-HCG. With surgery, chemotherapy and a highly specialised stem cell transplant technology it was brought down to three. Currently, Bill has six-monthly check-ups at Bendigo Oncology, until September 2016, which is when the vital milestone of being cancer free for five years will be reached.

Since his recovery, Bill has been raising awareness about men’s health through community events in Bendigo, such as the charity cricket day at Emu Creek, and a charity half-marathon event Ball-Da-Dash that raised money for both Bendigo Oncology and the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP). He is also involved in the annual Movember which is a movement to raise funds and awareness for men’s health and has joined the Consumer Advisory Panel of the ANZUP.

The experience has given Bill a new perspective on life, and he now appreciates time with his family and the little things. “You don’t have to let your illness define you”, he says with a voice that echoes the unyielding attitude that perhaps saved his life. He has returned to full-time work as an Occupational Health and Safety Manager, continues as an Army Reservist, and is studying for a graduate diploma in occupational health management; he is averaging a high distinction mark which has brought him an invitation to the Golden Key International Honour Society for academic high achievers.

Bill invites us to live our lives to the fullest and encourages us to listen to our bodies more carefully: “If people hear my story, the threshold to go to the doctor may become lower. There are defining moments in your life when you either act or you don’t. I waited too long. If you know something is not right, keep going to the doctor until you find out what it is.”

Towards a Clean Bill of Health

It was one of the moments when you know something is very wrong. My GP put her hand on my shoulder and told me I had metastatic lung disease.Bill

Fast Facts

Australian men are more likely than women to suffer from serious health problems. Compared to women, men visit the doctor less frequently and only attend when their illness is in its later stages. (Source: The Health of Australia’s Males)

Partnering with Consumers

As part of our commitment to continually strengthen consumer and community participation, Bendigo Health has in place a range of mechanisms to assist our organisation to be responsive to the needs of our community.

Consumers and community members are represented in and operate through the following main groups:

  • Community Advisory Committee
  • Consumer reference groups and other committees with community representation
  • Volunteers and auxiliaries

Community Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a sub-committee of the Bendigo Health Board of Directors and ensures that the views of the consumers and communities are taken into account at all levels of health service operations, planning and policy development. The CAC supports Bendigo Health in developing links with consumers and the community, and it does this through a range of approaches, including input to strategic planning, the Community Participation Plan, the Quality of Care Report and providing advice and recommendations to the Board of Directors. The CAC is committed to advocate to the Board of Directors on behalf of the community, consumers and carers.

CAC's Key Activities in 2014 - 2015
  • The CAC reviewed progress made on the Cultural Responsiveness Plan and the Improving Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients Plan (ICAP).
  • The CAC received regular updates from the Bendigo Hospital Project, visited the prototype rooms of the new hospital and provided feedback to the design team.
  • CAC members provided consumer input to the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) tender process, and specifically the Patient Portal component.
  • A CAC member gave a presentation at the Bendigo Health AGM in November 2014 about the role of consumer representatives in shaping healthcare.
  • The CAC hosted a morning tea to recognise the tremendous efforts and hard work that our consumer representatives make across Bendigo Health.
CAC Membership 2014 - 2015

Ms Marg O'Rourke – Board of Directors (Chair)

  • Managing Director, MOR Consulting
  • Bendigo Health, Director
  • Bendigo Kangan Institute, Director
  • Goulburn Murray Water, Director
  • Tasports, Director
  • Aspire Cultural & Charitable Foundation
  • Catholic College Bendigo Advisory Committee

Ms Aileen Berry – Board of Directors

  • Bendigo Health, Director
  • Member, Community Advisory Committee, Quality Council and Medical Advisory Committee, Bendigo Health
  • Media and Communications Advisor, Herald and Weekly Times

Ms Ruth Harris – Community Member

  • Pharmacist manager of Bendigo Central Pharmacy
  • Interest in primary care
  • Member Quality Care Council, Bendigo Health

Mr Daniel O'Brien – Community Member

  • Employed at Audio Visual installation
  • Public health studies at La Trobe University
  • Consumer member at LMICS governance board

Ms Kathleen Pleasants – Community Member

  • Lecturer, La Trobe University
  • PhD student (Outdoor and Environmental Education)
  • Strategic Planning and Population Health Committee, Bendigo Health
  • Hockey Central Victoria Committee of Management

Ms Robyn Tickner – Community Member

  • Maternal and Child Health Nurse (Maternal and Child Health coordinator Macedon - Ranges Shire council – Retired)
  • President of Bendigo VIEW Club (affiliated with The Smith Family)
  • Member of Bendigo U3A

Mr Ben Lemmens – Community Member

  • Bach. Health Science & Master Podiatric Practice
  • Podiatrist
  • Musician

Ms Sally Fraser – Community Member

  • Community representative in education and the arts
  • Active health consumer
  • Retired small business owner

Ms Heather McNeill – Community Member

  • Secondary Teacher and Careers Counsellor (Retired)
  • President of Soroptimist International, Bendigo
  • Member Bendigo Health Intensive Care Auxiliary
  • Active volunteer involvement: Bendigo Art Gallery Guides, Bendigo Visitor Centre, Aged Care.

Ms Jodie Rasmussen – Community Member

  • Owned and operated a local spatial consulting business for 7 years
  • Member of Psychiatric Consumer Participation Group
  • Member of Parents and Friends Group at Big Hill Primary School

As part of its commitment to consumer and community participation, Bendigo Health has also nominated four staff members to support the CAC functions: Ms Liz Hamilton (Executive Director Community and Continuing Care), Ms Yvonne Wrigglesworth (Director Governance, Strategy & Risk), Ms Nina Hakamies (Consumer Participation Support Officer) and Ms Sue Lawrence (Minutes).

BH Committee Structure

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Partnering with Consumers

Community Advisory Committee (from left to right): Liz Hamilton, Jodie Rasmussen, Ben Lemmens, Robyn Tickner, Sally Fraser, Yvonne Wrigglesworth, Nina Hakamies, Kathleen Pleasants, Marg O'Rourke, Daniel O'Brien, Jordan Cappy, Heather McNeill, Aileen Berry and Ruth Harris.

Indigenous Health and Diversity

Bendigo Health continues to enhance our service to provide a culturally safe, welcoming and supportive environment for all members of our community. We all benefit from operating in a diverse community and as a regional health provider we have an open door for anyone who needs our service.

We improve our response to the diverse needs of community across the Loddon Mallee region by implementing policies and plans which are overseen by advisory committees.

Bendigo Health is proud to have released an Integrated Aboriginal Health Plan which ensures that all matters relating to Aboriginal health, wellbeing and support are captured and promoted in one place. The Integrated Aboriginal Health Plan makes Aboriginal health everyone’s business and attempts to ‘close the health gap’ and to improve the patient journey, inclusive of workforce planning, creating safety, education and resources for staff and patients, events promotion, and celebration of our achievements.

We also have in place a Cultural Responsiveness Plan which reports our progress towards six standards. Bendigo Health provided 1133 occasions of interpreting services to in over 36 languages in 2014-15.

The scope of the Communication, Language and Interpreting Protocol was also broadened to be inclusive of all communication access considerations, i.e. language other than English, speech issues more generally, visual impairment or hearing impairments and health literacy. A language services clinic time for the Karen speaking population was established for Dental Services with successful outcomes. We participated in a social media “It Stops With Me” campaign against racism.

The Equality Tree

Broadening out the scope of Diversity and Equity, Bendigo Health proudly participated for the first time in the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). By placing a message of solidarity on the Equality Tree, community members who might be feeling vulnerable are able to hear the voice of support of our community.

Equality Tree

The Equality Tree in celebration of the International Day against Homophobia, Bisexual and Transgender Day

As we move into 2015-16, our focus will remain on cultural awareness education opportunities for our staff, re-signing our collaboration agreement with Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC), continuing to encourage Aboriginal identification, provision of interpreter services and creating a safe and welcoming environment for people of diverse backgrounds.


Once again Bendigo Health proudly participated in the NAIDOC week and Closing the Gap celebrations. The focus this year was on the launch of the Aboriginal dental services project, Booreye Lia, which aims to improve access to dental services in the Loddon Mallee region and provide a more welcoming and accessible environment for indigenous children.

Students from St Peter’s Primary School presented the clinic with a painting they had designed with local elders and which was placed on the wall of the Bendigo Health Dental Clinic. The painting promoted the Dental Health Services Victoria’s Smiles 4 Miles program’s three key messages of drink well, eat well and clean well using Dja Dja Wurrung language.

Launch of the Aboriginal dental services

Launch of the Aboriginal dental services project for children and the Booreye Lia Rooms

Bendigo Health provided 1133 occasions of interpreting services to in over 36 languages in 2014-15.

Bendigo Hospital Project

The construction of the new hospital is in full swing and is due for completion by the end of 2016. To date, a team of more than 200 Bendigo Health staff have worked with the architects, health planners, interior designers and the builder to ensure the fit out is fit for purpose, practical and will deliver a tranquil environment.

Each space underwent rigorous scrutiny right down to the positioning of power outlets and the direction doors swing.

The construction of prototype rooms gave staff and consumers a physical view of these environments and a chance to provide ideas, comments and best practice knowledge into the makeup of these rooms. Each room had its own unique features, but all conformed to several key components – functionality and safety. Each prototype room had items such as medical panels, hand sanitiser dispensers and light switches that were made with cardboard, paper or Velcro so they could be easily moved to achieve the best possible outcome.

It was a significant achievement to complete the design after such a thorough process and we now have the privilege of watching it come to life.

Bendigo Hospital Project

Thank You for Our Consumers

In October 2014, the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) of Bendigo Health hosted a morning tea to recognise the tremendous efforts and hard work that our consumer representatives make across Bendigo Health.

Bendigo Health Board Chair, Michael Langdon, Board Member, Margaret O’Rourke and CEO, John Mulder, thanked representatives for the hard work they have dedicated to improving our health service and to ensuring that our consumers voices are heard.

There are currently more than 65 consumer representatives who participate across 18 consumer groups and committees on a voluntary basis. The consumer representatives’ role will continue to be an integral part of Bendigo Health over the coming years, as we move closer to the new Bendigo hospital.

Thank You for our Consumers

Connecting via Social Media

In the past years, Bendigo Health has increased its presence in social media. News and events about Bendigo Health can be followed through the social media links below. All of the services can be accessed through the website interface, SMS, or mobile device apps.

Facebook /bendigohealth

Facebook – A free social networking website that allows registered users to follow the news and activities of Bendigo Health, share messages and files, and keep in touch with others.

Instagram /bendigo_health

Instagram – A photo and video-sharing and social networking service that enables users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn <strong>/bendigohealth</strong>

LinkedIn – A business-oriented social networking service, mainly used for professional networking. It allows users to create profiles and "connections" to each other which may represent real-world professional relationships.

YouTube /bendigohealthPR

YouTube – A video-sharing website that allows users to upload, view, and share videos.

Connecting via Social Media

Being Part of Our Healthy Communities Vision

At Bendigo Health we have a Consumer Register which is a pool of past and present patients, carers, relatives and consumers of hospital services. It gives people the opportunity to share their experiences, views and ideas for improvement of our services.

We strive for providing safe, high quality care for all our patients, and hearing the voice of everyone is essential in designing our health service and in meeting the needs of the community.

Being a member on the Register is voluntary, and individuals can participate in many ways: contributing to working groups, committees, focus groups, assisting with surveys, providing feedback on information for consumers, etc.


For further information, please contact the Consumer Participation Support Officer (Quality @ BH): Consumer Participation Support Officer, tel. (03) 5454 9078 or email

Being Part of Our Healthy Communities Vision

Quality and Safety

Quality and Safety

Improving Care for Critically Ill Children

Consumer Story

Little Blake stayed with us only for a short time, but what he left behind is a giant’s legacy to all children with heart disease who come after him. His story opens our eyes to the world of our youngest patients who battle a life-threatening condition and is an inspiration to provide the best care for them.

Baby Blake was born at Bendigo Health in February 2012. He was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after his birth, but he seemed otherwise a healthy little boy who grew bigger and stronger every day. A small murmur was detected in his chest initially, but it cleared and routine medical appointments indicated a normal and healthy development. Blake was settling well into life with parents Di and Paull and turned out to have a delightful personality and a radiant smile that charmed everyone around him.

At the age of 13 months, Blake got very sick with a chesty cough. His parents brought him to the Emergency Department of Bendigo Health where he received extra oxygen to ease off his difficult breathing. The boy was diagnosed with bronchiolitis, a common viral chest infection in babies, and was admitted to the children’s ward.

After three weeks, Blake hadn’t recovered as expected and was sent to the Royal Children’s Hospital for further care. To everyone’s surprise, the echocardiogram detected two holes in his heart. He was also diagnosed with secondary pulmonary hypertension and a rare lung disease, which still today remains a mystery to health professionals. Despite being seriously ill, Blake had a remarkable ability to remain energetic and was always up for a play, when staff expected to see him weak and non-responsive. Children with Down syndrome are known for a high pain threshold, and Blake was no exception.

Little Blake received the treatment he needed, care plans were made, and he was transferred back to Bendigo Health. The early intervention program resumed involving physiotherapy and speech therapy, and his special life support oxygen equipment helped him breathe comfortably. At every turn, Blake continued enchanting the world with his irresistible personality.

All seemed going well, until Blake contracted influenza B. This time, the symptoms quickly became life-threatening and he was urgently transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital. The little boy spent nine days at the intensive care unit, but sadly his illness eventually took a stronger hold of him. Blake received his angel wings in September 2013, at the age of 19 months.

The experience has had a profound effect on parents Di and Paull and there are no words to describe the loss of their perfect little boy. Blake died from what was likely a foreseeable and preventable death, partly due to human error by medical staff. But instead of giving in to the unfortunate course of events, the parents adopted Blake’s fighter spirit and got involved in improving health care for all heart kids. “Our baby had a problem which wasn't known until it was too late. Blake has to make a difference”, Di says.

Di and Paull joined the Bendigo Health Women’s and Children’s Consumer Reference Group, and they advocate for nationwide guidelines and policies to test every newborn with Down syndrome for heart defects. Thanks to their experience, Bendigo Health and the Royal Children’s Hospital now have guidelines in place. In 2015, Bendigo Health introduced a patient review called PACT which can be activated by anyone at any time when they feel concerned about a patient’s treatment or care.

Di and Paull are also supporters of Heart Kids Australia, and they advocate for a shared use of services between hospitals. “We must help all kids to have timely access to the services”, Di explains. The couple have been raising awareness in the community at events and on Facebook through their page Blake's Million Smiles (with over 4000 followers). They have been involved in fundraising for Down syndrome awareness and causes such as Childhood Heart Disease. A song ‘Let Your Angel Fly’ written in Blake's honour also raised money for HeartKids Victoria.

Improving communication between patients, families and hospital staff is another key area that Di and Paull are involved in: “We should be encouraged to communicate and to learn from each other in the best interest of the patient. We need to be comfortable to speak up and to ask for a second opinion. If you have a sick child and you know something is wrong, don’t be afraid to act. You know your baby best and you are the best advocate for your child.”

Blake’s smile on the photos is contagious. His passing away hasn’t diminished his power to touch people’s lives and to inspire us to provide the best possible care for our smallest patients. Blake’s parents will miss him every day but are comforted to know that he is now busy working miracles elsewhere.

Patient/Consumer Activated Care Team (PACT)

A PACT review is a patient review conducted by an experienced medical team independent of the doctors and nurses caring for you. It is a way for consumers to get a second opinion in relation to their concerns and treatment without needing to change hospitals.

Improving Care for Critically Ill Children

Despite being seriously ill, Blake had a remarkable ability to remain energetic and was always up for a play, when staff expected to see him weak and non-responsive.


The incidence of congenital heart disease in children with Down syndrome is up to 50%. There are now simple, inexpensive and non-invasive tests available that would help identify more than 90% of heart defects in newborns. (Sources: HeartKids Victoria & Tasmania and American Heart Association)

At the Heart of Person Centred Care

During the month of April 2015, the second annual Person Centred Care Survey for consumers was administered across Bendigo Health as part of our commitment to our vision of Healthy Communities and World Class Health Care, and to the NSQHS Standard 2 – Partnering with Consumers.  The survey aims at measuring our impact in relation to Bendigo Health's Strategic Goals. By 2018, we aim to have improved our person-centred care practices by 5% each year over the life of the 5-year Strategic Plan.

Comparison of the survey results in 2014 and 2015 suggest that the majority of the respondents felt positive about Bendigo Health's services and the ways in which consumers were involved in their own care. Consumers who responded felt that:

Consumer Responses

Comparison of the survey results in 2014 and 2015

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At the Heart of Person Centred Care

89% Opinions equally important.

88% Directed to appropriate service.

85% Location of services suit needs and preferences.

81% Personal privacy respected.

75% Comfortable to question or challenge.

Person Centred Care means that we put the patient at the centre of everything we do. We strive for providing treatment and care considering the needs of the patient, their family and their carers, and providing them with the right information to make informed decisions. It is treating our patients the way they want to be treated.

Preventing Infections

Victorian Cleaning Standards

Each year Bendigo Health has three independent external cleaning audits to comply with Victorian Cleaning Standards. The latest audit conducted in February 2015 showed consistently high results which were above the benchmark.

Reprocessing of equipment and instruments meets Australian standards and best practice guidelines ensuring microbiologically safe procedures for our patients.

Scored as per February 2015:

97% Overall Compliance Score

96% Very High Risk
(e.g. Operating theatres, Intensive Care Unit, Central Sterilising Services Department)

98% High Risk
(e.g. Emergency, nursing units)

99% Moderate risk
(e.g. Medical Imaging, waiting rooms)

Hand Hygiene Compliance

Bendigo Health maintains consistent hand hygiene compliance rates and reports our performance quarterly to Hand Hygiene Australia. The state compliance rate has been raised twice in the last twelve months, most recently from 77-80% for the last audit:

Hand Hygiene Compliance

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Infection Prevention Control staff monitor the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene and report feedback to staff. Alcohol -based hand rub is strategically placed throughout Bendigo Health to facilitate good compliance and clean hands.

Worldwide Hand Hygiene Program

Bendigo Health is a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) “Cleaner Care is Safe Care”. The World Hand Hygiene Day was celebrated in May 2015. This year, Infection Prevention Control joined a worldwide campaign to commemorate 10 years of the WHO program. Health care facilities participated in the #safeHANDS campaign by taking photos of staff and patients using WHO #safeHANDS boards and posting on the intranet and on social media to remind the world that hand hygiene saves lives.


Bendigo Health staff are required to perform an annual online Hand Hygiene and Aseptic Technique competency to ensure understanding and compliance.

Infection Prevention Control arranged a trial for patients to receive bottles of alcohol-based hand rub. The aim of the trial is to generate discussion with patients and therefore an opportunity for staff to discuss the principles of the hand hygiene program and to create a greater awareness of good hand hygiene.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of bacteria, viruses and parasites to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard medical treatments become ineffective and infections persist and may spread to others.

IDEA3S Program

To combat the worldwide antibiotic resistance problem, stewardship programs are put in place. Bendigo Health manages this by the use of the IDEA3S program which requires medical staff to seek approval before prescribing certain restricted antibiotics. Good compliance to the program has resulted in decreased incidence of multi-drug resistant organisms.

The antimicrobial stewardship program is overseen by Professor Lindsay Grayson, Director of Infectious Diseases at Austin Health.

Preventing Infections

Staff Influenza Vaccinations

This season, over 2,100 influenza vaccinations were given to staff. This equates to 65% of staff having had the influenza vaccine this year. The state government compliance requirement is 75%.

Hand Hygiene Compliance

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By increasing immunity in our staff and their families we are also reducing transmission risk to a vulnerable patient population and to the wider community. Infection Prevention Control has provided extended clinic hours and mobile clinics including night shift and weekends to optimise staff access for vaccination.

The Infectious Disease Service (IDS)

The Bendigo Health IDS team treats patients with HIV, Hepatitis B and C and other infectious diseases as well as chronic infections. The aim of the service is to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with these diseases and to reduce transmission both within the community and the hospital environment. The team supports all patients throughout their journey, including pre-treatment assessment, medical appointments, treatment phase and the follow-up phase.

New treatments for Hepatitis C

New treatments for Hepatitis C have emerged in the past twelve months. This has changed the standard of care treatment and requires more complex assessment, management and treatment regimens. Improvements and changes to the IDS service in 2014 include:

  • New Staffing: Clinical Nurse Consultants
  • New treatment availability
  • Professional development: Increasing access to evidence-based models of care, informing and improving our practice
  • Developing a Hepatitis B maternity policy
  • Attending and sharing knowledge via the Loddon Mallee Refugee Health Network
  • Building relationships with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities
  • Ongoing affiliation with the Bendigo Aboriginal service is aimed at attracting people with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) heritage to consider treatment
  • Restructuring clinic templates to help with patient waiting times

Staff Influenza Vaccinations

The Big Five – Indicators in Patient Safety

1. Medication Safety

Bendigo Health’s clinical staff work in strict compliance with policy and best practice in order to eliminate medication risks to patients.

Medical Officers, pharmacists and nursing staff work closely together with the specialised pharmacy advisory committee to ensure that the prescribed medication reaches the patient. It involves three stages – prescribing, dispensing and administration – all of which are carefully checked and monitored.

As part of our continuous improvement, the Pharmacy Department produces a regular ‘Medication Safety’ newsletter specifically focussing on supporting staff to have access to best practise information and to remain highly skilled, and hence to promote better health outcomes for our patients.

Medication Safety

2. Falls

Bendigo Health’s falls steering committees, risk management committees and working groups oversee our objective of reducing the harm that may occur as a consequence of falls.

The following graph shows the number of falls per 1000 bed days (including all inpatient beds and residential services):

Falls per 1,000 bed days

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The following graph indicates the number of falls per 1000 bed days in the sub-acute wards. It shows that Bendigo Health is performing better than the Victorian Benchmark:

Victorian Benchmark

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3. Pressure Injuries

Pressure injuries occur when an area of skin has been damaged due to unrelieved pressure. It usually occurs over the bony areas, especially heels, buttocks and toes.

The following graph shows the total number of pressure injuries per month. The incidents shown record the number of pressure ulcers acquired during care or that were present upon admission and then became worse. They also demonstrate that Bendigo Health ranks very strongly against the Victorian benchmark.

Total number of pressure injuries per month

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Pressure Injuries

4. Oral Health

The Dental Services remain strongly committed to support patients’ oral health, including prevention of pain, infection and tooth loss.

In 2014-15, the service continued to perform above the national targets, and witnessed some great achievements:

  • Bendigo Health treated an additional 1931 children, by utilising the Child Dental Benefit Scheme (CDBS).
  • Additional funding provided to Bendigo Health enabled the service to be provided to our aged care facilities. From a total of 208 of our residents, 153 (74%) were seen by a dentist.
  • A continued growth in the number of patients was observed in our priority groups (i.e. children and young people under 18 years old, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, refugees and asylum seekers, and homeless people or those at risk of homelessness.
  • The number of Aboriginal persons seen by our service grew by 13% to 245.
  • Our relationship with partner services and supporting initiatives were strengthened to reduce the barriers to service.
  • Dental Services have improved the way that treatment is provided to patients who are seeking attention for emergency care. As a result, patients are being seen more promptly.

Access to Care for Emergency Dental Patients

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Timmy the Tooth
Timmy the Tooth

Timmy the Tooth

5. Safe Use of Blood and Blood Products

The provision of safe blood and blood products remains a high priority at Bendigo Health.

All Bendigo Health blood and blood product related policies and procedures continue to comply fully with state and national guidelines. These policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and new protocols are developed as the need arises.

All hospital medical staff, registered nurses, registered midwives, enrolled nurses, anaesthetic technicians, health service assistants and porters involved in any aspect of the transfusion process are required to complete blood component mandatory assessments.

Bendigo Health also remains committed to providing patients with relevant information on the administration of blood and blood products. Patient information brochures are now available on the Bendigo Health internet site for patients to access from home. Recently a transfusion visual pathway has been developed that is intended to give patients a general idea what to expect before, during and after a blood component transfusion.

Safe Use of Blood and Blood Products

Quality Indicators in Residential Aged Care

All public sector residential aged care services (PSRACS) are involved in a quality indicator program designed to support care excellence.

This program was the first of its kind in Australia and is now well established and recognised. All PSRACS collect and report indicators on five high-risk care areas including:

  • Pressure injuries
  • Falls and fall related fractures
  • Use of physical restraint
  • Use of nine of more medicines
  • Unplanned weight loss

The program aids to provide a set of meaningful and measurable indicators, enabling services to monitor trends in their performance and benchmark against other services. Data is displayed per 1000 bed days so that facilities of different sizes can be compared accurately and collected in 3-month blocks or quarters.

Below is a summary of pressure ulcers incidents and falls for Bendigo Health residential services. Over the past year, Bendigo Health’s Residential Aged Care Nursing Homes have had less incidents of pressure ulcers than the Overall High Care Statewide Rates of incidents:

Pressure Ulcers Incidents per 1,000 bed days

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In residential aged care facilities statewide, up to 60% of residents fall at least once a year with half of them suffering an injury as a result. Bendigo Health Nursing Homes experienced a decrease in the amount of falls in quarter 1, 2 and 4, performing better than the overall high care state wide rates:

Falls per 1,000 bed days

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Quality Indicators in Residential Aged Care

Meals Mates Program for Aged Care Residents

This year, Bendigo Health volunteers from Joan Pinder Nursing Home, Stella Anderson Nursing Home and Simpkin House have been involved with a Meal Mates program.

Under the supervision of nursing and clinical staff, the volunteers provide help with feeding residents who are unable to manage by themselves.

Meals are a very important part of our lives and can often provide wonderful memories. For our residents who are limited in the number of meals they can have with friends and family, it is great to have volunteers sit with the residents to make these meals interesting and enjoyable. The residents are enjoying spending time with the volunteers and by all accounts are eating much better since this program began.

In collaboration, volunteer services, residential aged care, dietetics and speech pathology departments worked together to ensure the quality and safety of the program and as such were the July 2014 finalist in the Bendigo Health Quality Awards. The volunteers enjoyed a morning tea where they were thanked by Bendigo Health’s CEO John Mulder and Community and Continuing Care Executive Director Liz Hamilton for their contribution to the care of our residents.

Meal Mates Program

Auslan Baby Sign Language

Bendigo Health’s Deaf Access program supports people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

It aims to raise awareness of Auslan as the language of the deaf within the general community for the purpose of inclusion. A recent consultation with the Bendigo Deaf Community highlighted the need for more Auslan signing classes to be developed. As a result, the Deaf Access Baby Auslan Signing classes were launched in Bendigo and Castlemaine in May 2015.

This six-week course for children of all abilities, both deaf and hearing is designed to improve communication between children and parents. It provides an alternative communication method for children who are preverbal and nonverbal, while raising awareness of the Auslan sign language and deaf culture.

The small classes are offered in the relaxed setting of local neighbourhood houses and are provided by qualified Auslan interpreters. They teach children and their parents a basic understanding of the signs used every day in the home. Signs like Milk, Bottle, Nappy, Wet and Dummy are useful to speed communication and reduce frustration. Deaf Access aims at supporting a self-sustaining program of inclusion for the two communities.

Auslan Baby Sign Language

Recognising Staff Health and Wellbeing

Bendigo Health’s vision is ‘Healthy Communities and World Class Healthcare’. While the vision states that we are focussed on improving the health of the community we service, at Bendigo Health we also know that this also means improving the health of our staff. We care about our staff and are passionate about improving their health and wellbeing.

We actively engage in promoting health and wellbeing to our staffing group across all sites. Bendigo Health undertook a staff health and wellbeing survey to understand the health status of our workforce and also the challenges they face in improving their health statistics. This enabled us to focus our activities on the things that matter.

Staff Health & Wellbeing Survey

The Staff Health & Wellbeing Survey was conducted in June 2015. Results of the survey will be compiled in July 2015 and compared with the results from 2013. Bendigo Health will use the information obtained from the report to identify its strengths and weaknesses and to develop action plans to respond to the issues that matter to our staff regarding their health and wellbeing.

Bendigo Health has had a Health Promotion Steering Committee for many years. Recently, it was decided to divide the committee into two groups, one focussing on health promotion activities for patients, residents and clients and the second focussing on the health and wellbeing of staff and volunteers. This has resulted in initiatives that are more tailored for the target audience.

Staff Health and Wellbeing

Bendigo Health has had a Health Promotion Steering Committee for many years.  Recently, it was decided to divide the committee into two groups, one focussing on health promotion activities for patients, residents and client and the second focussing on the health and wellbeing of staff and volunteers.  This has resulted in initiatives that are more tailored for the target audience.

Committee work

The high level areas of focus for the committee focussing on improving staff health and wellbeing are as follows:

Priority Area 1 – Reducing Tobacco Related Harm

Priority Area 2 – Promoting Accessible and Nutritious Food

Priority Area 3 – Promoting Physical Activities and Active Communities

Priority Area 4 – Promoting Positive Mental Health

Priority Area 5 – Reducing Alcohol Related Harm

Each year the committee develops a plan in order to determine the activities to be undertaken in line with the priority area above. This year we have promoted QUIT smoking programs, healthy cooking classes run by our in-house chefs and food services team. We have actively promoted and encouraged staff to participated in events to increase physical activity, these include the Bendigo Bank Fun Run, Bendigo’s Biggest Boot Camp, Walk the Block, Ride to Work, Walk to Work and Bendigo’s Biggest Winner. The organisation also promotes mental health awareness including conducting sessions for staff on how to identify early signs of mental health issues in themselves and others. The organisation are also active participants in events such as Dry July, the event has two focusses, raising much needed funds for the organisation and also encouraging staff to reduce their alcohol intake. In total over 1,000 staff have participate in health and wellbeing activities.

In September 2014, Bendigo Health was formally recognised for its efforts with respect to Staff Health and Wellbeing. Bendigo Health was one of eight health services to be invited to a breakfast with Dr Pradeep Phillip the Secretary of the Department of Health. In addition, we were selected as finalist for the Bendigo Business Excellence Awards in the Healthy Workplace category.

Staff Health and Wellbeing

Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey

The Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) is a state-wide survey that asks people how they felt about their experience with the public hospital, such as Bendigo Health.

The VHES is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to the ongoing improvement of the public health system.

The VHES survey is distributed randomly to a selection of patients, providing useful feedback on the quality of the health services from patients’ perspective, and guiding health service management as to where things could be improved for greatest effect.

Between April and June 2015, patients who received services from the Bendigo Health Acute Campus and/or the Emergency Department:

The Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey

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In response to outcomes from the VHES, Bendigo Health has improved our services in several areas to better meet the needs of our patients and the community, for examples:

Meal Mates – Our volunteers program that provides help with feeding aged care residents who are unable to manage by themselves.

Person Centred Care Survey – An annual survey that measures the extent to which our consumers are involved in their own care.

PACT – An independent patient review conducted by an experienced medical team, which is a way for consumers to get a second opinion in relation to their concerns and treatment.

PACER – The Police Ambulance Clinical Early Response program that intervenes in mental health crises observed in our community.

Discharge phone calls – Designed to improve patient satisfaction and address their concerns in a timely manner. Currently, discharge phone calls are made at the Surgical Unit, Cardiac Catheter Lab, Inpatient Rehabilitation, Day Surgery and the Orthopaedic Unit.

The Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey

Comments received from patients:

The attention by the doctors and nurses was excellent. I could not fault the care I was given by everyone, I was a private patient.
Everything was explained to me. Everything about medication was explained to me. Everything was made to relax me. It was a pleasure to be in such a wonderful place.

Accreditation and Credentialing

Bendigo Health provides high quality, person centred care based on best practice. The system we use, termed ‘clinical governance’, is underpinned by our accreditation system.

Bendigo Health is accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), an independent not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to ensure we are providing safe, quality care in accordance with widely recognised state and national standards and to identify any areas for improvement. Accreditation is one tool, in a range of strategies, which can be used to improve safety and quality in a hospital. It is a way of verifying that actions are being taken, that system data is being used to inform activity and that improvements are made in safety and quality.

Victorian Clinical Governance Policy Framework

Bendigo Health is committed to improving the quality and safety of our health service by providing care within the domains of quality (as described in the Victorian Clinical Governance Framework – enhancing clinical care, 2009). The framework consists of four domains:

Consumer Participation – is the process of involving consumers and community members in decision making about their health care, health service planning, policy development, setting priorities and quality issues in health service delivery;

Clinical Effectiveness – is ensuring the right care is provided to the right patient who is informed and involved in their care at the right time by the right clinician with the right skills in the right way;

Effective Workforce – Staff must have appropriate skills and knowledge to fulfil their roles and responsibilities within the organisation. Support is required to ensure clinicians and managers have the skills, knowledge and training to perform the tasks that are required of them and that they understand the concept of governance;

Risk Management – Clinical risk management is part of the broader organisational risk management system which integrates the management of organisational, financial, occupational health and safety, plan, equipment and patient safety risk.

High – level governance of quality & safety

Bendigo Health’s Quality Care Council meets bi-monthly (as a sub-committee of the Board) and works to ensure that a consistent endeavour is applied across the organisation to oversee the delivery of optimal care in an environment of minimal risk. The Quality Care Council reviews reports that allow for a systematic, coordinated, and continuous approach to improving performance by focusing on the processes and mechanisms that address these values under the domains of quality. Over the past 12 months, the Quality Care Council has provided significant leadership in establishing a suite of high level Key Performance Indicators that are presented via a specialised dashboard report. The dashboard allows for ‘at a glance’ viewing of the organisation’s performance in Quality & Safety and enables the subcommittee to make informed decisions when the organisation is planning, designing and evaluating improvements in service delivery to ensure patient safety is maintained.

BH Surgery Journey

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In addition, Bendigo Health operates an organisation wide risk management strategy to identify risks and establish appropriate responses and systems to mitigate them.

Bendigo Health’s status as a fully accredited health service is of great importance for patients, clients, consumers and families of our service as it indicates that the organisation not only examines its own systems, processes and services, but is also rigorously examined for quality, safety and patient centred care through fully recognised external organisations, allowing clients to be assured that they are coming to an organisation which works hard to provide the best possible care.

Credentialing and Scope of Practice

Credentialing is the formal process used to verify the qualifications, experience, professional standing and other relevant professional attributes of health professionals for the purpose of forming a view about their competence, performance and professional suitability to provide safe, high quality health care services within specific organisational environments.

Bendigo Health uses the Department of Health’s “Credentialing and defining the scope of clinical practice for medical practitioners in Victorian health services” guidelines to maintain a credentialing system that oversees the credentialing and scope of practice process for medical staff and specialists. Governance is overseen by the Health Professionals Credentialing Committee which reports to the Quality Care Council (a subcommittee of the Board).

Credentialing processes also apply and are in place to ensure that nursing, allied health and dental professionals are appropriately qualified and registered with their professional body. Processes include annual checks of nursing board registration and initial checks and regular reviews of qualifications for other health professionals as part of performance review programs.


Continuity of Care

Continuity of Care

Being a Carer for a Loved One

Consumer Story

Rod and Betty’s story about maintaining a good quality of life after a diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Rod and Betty’s welcome to their home is warm and genuine. Betty takes us on a tour to see her artwork: fine pieces of hand-painted china, a coffee table displaying exquisite glassware and paintings hanging in the living room. In the past, Betty sewed the family’s wedding dresses and was a successful cake decorator at the Redcliffs Bakery. Their home is filled with beauty and talent, and perhaps most importantly, with memories that will never fade.

In August 2014, Betty was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at Bendigo Health. The illness was in its early stage allowing Betty to continue with much of her normal life, and Rod stepped in as her main carer. This opened a new chapter in their life, after 62 years of marriage...

Betty’s dementia manifests as short-term memory loss and a lack of forethought. “What are we having for tea?” she may ask several times throughout the day but is unable to plan a meal. She knows where everything is located, but will not remember to take them out. Rod is in charge of all planning, but admits it is sometimes hard: “To be honest, I’m possibly a bit short-fused when it comes to the repetitive questions. As a former bank manager, I have been in control of things all my life. But now for the first time, I have something I cannot control.” With professional support, Rod has gained profound insights to their situation: “It comes with the realisation that there has been a change. We do the best we can, and I need to adapt to that.”

Betty herself does not feel inconvenienced by her illness: “I’m not really aware of it, it doesn’t worry me at all. I don’t feel sick and my quality of life is good. I’m lucky actually.”

Despite Betty’s forgetfulness, the couple has established a good routine at home: Rod washes the dishes, Betty dries them. She makes the bed, he is in charge of the garden. Together they go grocery shopping and prepare healthy meals. Rod plays golf once a week, Betty is active doing other crafts. And together they still go dancing, decades after their very first encounter on the dance floor at the tender age of 15. “As far as the caring goes, we’re doing pretty well. We try to stay as independent as possible.” Rod says he is pleased by the way things are under control now. Yet a few months ago, this balance was seriously threatened by a sudden event.

In March 2015, Rod had a stroke and spent three weeks at Anne Caudle Campus rehabilitation unit. He was extremely lucky and recovered fully. His inability to drive for five months made practical life very difficult and someone was needed to look after them both. “This is when the Carer Support Services and the Post Acute Care of Bendigo Health reached out to us”, Rod says explaining how truly surprised he was by the extent of services that were available to them: “They referred me to the Senior Helpers, took Betty to the hairdressers keeping her company, and they drove us to do grocery shopping, for all those months. Carer Australia and the Golden City Support Services also worked together to make sure that we received the support we needed. We haven’t even needed all of the services available. We pay for some of the services, but the amount is very small. We have been spoiled in my opinion. The caregivers who’ve helped us are exceptional people. I can’t speak highly enough of them. Some of them are like a daughter to Betty and I’ve written separately to each of those groups and thanked them.”

The couple have now re-established a balance in their lives. He is able to drive again, and they use respite once a week, giving them the chance to stay active. “Slowing down has been a big thing. But you find out yourself the limits, and life can still be good. It’s also your own attitude, I’ve always felt that way,” Rod says.

Obtaining a diagnosis for Betty has been a blessing in disguise because they now know what the illness is and how to live with it. “Even after the diagnosis, keep life as normal as possible, as it always was. As long as we can handle it, we might as well”, Rod says.

In the end, with a gentle voice, Betty offers us a tour around the home to see the artwork and glass collection. Rod, with boundless patience in his eyes, softly reminds her that the guests have already seen her beautiful artwork.

Being a Carer for a Loved One

I’m not really aware of it, it doesn’t worry me at all. I don’t feel sick and my quality of life is good. I’m lucky actually. Betty herself does not feel inconvenienced by her illness


There are 773,400 carers in Victoria, of which over 4000 are part of the Bendigo Health Carer Support Services (in 2015).

Carers provide a saving to the Australian government of more than $40 billion a year.

Kidney Health Awareness

Chronic kidney disease is a major public health problem worldwide. Bendigo is no exception. Bendigo Health supports and provides treatment for many people with various stages of kidney disease including people who require dialysis from the Loddon Mallee region and beyond.

As the regional referral centre for central Victoria, Bendigo Health Renal Services is striving for innovation to meet the needs of our patients. A new self-care dialysis model is being developed by the Renal Services team as a means to enable transition to home dialysis for some patients. Other initiatives are being developed to enable better access to renal services in the region.

The burden of kidney disease can be particularly onerous for those requiring dialysis – three times per week for up to 6 hours per treatment.  This equates to 156 treatments per year with no possibility of time off!  Many patients attempt to balance dialysis with careers, young families, volunteer commitments or study, all the while driving up to 100km each way to receive treatment. 

Approximately 90 patients in the region currently receive dialysis services by Bendigo Health, with several also waiting for a kidney transplant. Patients who have received kidney transplants, those seeking supportive care for end stage kidney disease and opt not to commence or continue dialysis, and more than 300 other patients with chronic kidney disease also have their care managed through Bendigo Health Renal Services, typically for years or even decades.

Kidney Health Awareness

Surgical Unit Volunteer Pilot Program

The Surgical Unit Volunteer Pilot Program was a project designed to develop and implement a post discharge telephone support service to patients, where the volunteer is the key participant in the delivery of the service.

The aim is to provide a service that would improve patient satisfaction, address any patient/carer concerns, determine participation in discharge planning and facilitate a decrease in readmission rates all within a timely manner.

The key role of the volunteer is to telephone the patient or carer post discharge from the Surgical Unit, asking a set of specific questions from a pre-determined script. Depending on responses given, the volunteer may be alerted of a clinical concern and refers the patient on to the nurse for clinical review. The nurse then utilises telephone triage protocols and provides advice to the patient/carer on actions required that will support the patient to remain at home and avoid an acute hospital presentation.

Feedback form the pilot phase conversations were positive and are highlighted in the graphs below:

The Surgical Unit Volunteer Pilot Program

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Surgical Volunteer Program

Photo of our surgical discharge follow-up volunteers who were also nominated for the Minister for Health Volunteer Awards.

The Bendigo Health Surgery Journey

The Bendigo Health Surgery Journey poster was developed to provide consistent information for pre-operative patients/consumers for surgical admission.

This initiative was designed to develop a way emotional care could be delivered to our consumers which would better meet patients’ needs and preferences. Surgical patients are often experiencing considerable stress in their lives when they come into the operating theatre. By better educating our patients/consumers about the surgical journey, we aim to make them better placed to retake control over their own emotions. We believe the knowledge gained will help alleviate patient anxiety, thus leading to better patient outcomes.

Anecdotal observations suggest that lack of knowledge of theatre processes is often the reason for patients having increased anxiety. The National Safety and Quality Health Services Standard 2, Partnering with Consumers, provided the basis for us designing a pictorial flow chart for our consumers that is informative, educational, functional, unique, practical and measurable which will ultimately improve our overall patient experience. The Bendigo Health Surgery Journey will provide enhanced communication of the surgical processes for our pre-operative consumers.

The Bendigo Health Surgery Journey poster was reviewed with participation from Bendigo Health consumers and staff who assisted with the wording of the poster. Once these changes were made the poster was given to a cohort of patients transiting through the day procedure unit for the month of November. All comments were reviewed and compiled for final analysis which formulated the final flow chart.

The Surgery Journey media presentation was created to enhance the patient experience and information provided to patients and families.

Aged Care Residents Go Young

There is a myth that, once elderly people come into an aged care home, there is no longer any fun in life.

Bendigo Health’s Residential Services and Day Respite staff wanted to challenge this myth and, together with lifestyle staff, residents and families, they produced a calendar for 2015 with the theme of Memorable Motoring Trips. With the support of a professional photographer, Image Pictures, the Central Victorian Veteran Vintage and Classic Car Club, residents and families, the search began for suitable cars and outfits for the photo shoots.

Carshalton House late resident Betty Frowde handmade and wore her wedding dress in 1957. She dusted off the 57-year-old gown, and proudly wore the gown as the model for the month of February in the 2015 calendar. Each month features some of Bendigo Health’s aged care residents dressed to match the vintage car they modelled with.

The theme for each photo shoot was fun, filled with laughter and happy trips down the memory lane. This generated many a conversation around the dining tables where the participants involved shared their experiences with other residents. The expression on Betty’s face reflected back to the happy memories of that special day 57 years ago.

The expression on Betty’s face reflected back to the happy memories of that special day 57 years ago

Aged Care Residents Go Young

Memorable Motoring Trips Calendar - February 2015

This is one among many great initiatives run by Bendigo Health’s Aged Care Services to enrich the life of the residents.

William Charles Vahland 100 Years

The National Trust Heritage Festival during May 2015 commemorated a milestone centenary – the death of William Charles Vahland, one of Australia’s most important 19th Century architects.

Vahland designed more than 200 buildings across Greater Bendigo and the Goldfields region over nearly six decades. He left his mark most prominently in Bendigo by designing The Anne Caudle Centre and surrounding buildings, along with The Capital Theatre, the Bendigo Art Gallery, the Bendigo Town Hall and the Alexandra Fountain, which are all magnificent testaments to the vision of this man.

Architecturally, Bendigo Health’s Anne Caudle Centre campus is the largest and most intact complex of buildings and structures designed by the prominent Bendigo architects W.C. Vahland and R. Getzschmann between 1860 and 1900. The Bendigo Hospital was also designed by Vahland and Getzschmann and was very similar to the Anne Caudle Centre campus in design and scale, but few original elements of the hospital design have survived.

Aesthetically, the Anne Caudle Centre campus is significant as the only benevolent asylum designed predominantly in the classical style. While the majority of benevolent asylums were designed in a Tudor style, the buildings of the Anne Caudle Campus were predominantly designed in variations of Academic Classical and Italianate styles. The German training and background of the architects Vahland and Getzschmann are likely to have had a strong influence on the aesthetics of the buildings.

William Charles Vahland ACC

Pastoral Care and Chaplains

In difficult and demanding times such as critical illness or other traumas in life, we may experience high stress, reducing our ability to cope.

Family members and friends are often an important support, but sometimes the presence of a person who is more detached from the situation can help. Pastoral Care seeks to engage with people’s “ultimate concerns” as they journey through life. These issues often arise when in hospital, as people may be struggling to make sense of the circumstances with which they are faced. Pastoral Care is provided by chaplains who have their own faith, whilst also accepting and respecting the beliefs of others. All chaplains are sensitive to and respectful of different faith traditions, beliefs and cultural needs.

Our team of 27 Chaplains are accredited volunteers. Some are assigned to visit people of their own faith. Some are assigned to a ward or service and visit all people regardless of faith background. In 2015, our team welcomed Jewish and Sikh chaplains and became a multi faith team. Two part time staff chaplains are available for visits during business hours, as is the full time mental health chaplain in psychiatric services. Chaplains wear lapel badges to increase the awareness of their role when visiting. Patients, staff and families can make a referral to a chaplain by contacting the Pastoral Care office, or staff can directly contact specific chaplains via the list on the staff intranet.

A new project has led to the automation of daily reports to chaplains who visit specific faiths to plan their visits. Chaplains are given the ward, bed, admission date and suburb of patients. This allows them to have enough data to know where they are needed and to prioritise visits without compromising patient privacy.

Three memorial services were held over the year at the Salvation Army Community Centre to remember those who passed away whilst with Bendigo Health. Our Annual Pastoral Care Forum is open to all and was held in November with a topic of Self Care.

Our chaplains and our multi-faith network are all looking forward to the new hospital opening with our beautiful new Sacred Space.

Pastoral Care Tree

Pastoral Care Tree

Police Ambulance Clinical Early Response

Bendigo Health and the Victoria Police Bendigo Branch began a PACER (Police Ambulance Clinical Early Response) team in 2014.

The program was introduced in response to mental health crises observed in the community, where emergency services including police, mental health and ambulance services were spending an increasing amount of their resources. A significant focus on policy, legislation and protocol development in Victoria preceded the establishment of PACER to determine the most suitable response.

Some of the aims of PACER include:

  • Timely assessment and early intervention for mental health crises in a community setting;
  • Create a streamlined approach to mental health crises by sharing of information between services and having Bendigo Health Mental Health clinicians co-located at Bendigo Police Station;
  • Bendigo Health Emergency Department (ED) diversion by reducing referrals to ED via Police.

The PACER team includes a police officer and a mental health clinician who provide a timely clinical mental health response to clients in their own environment. The PACER team operates from 3pm to 11pm, seven days a week, extending geographically outside of Bendigo and responding to people of all ages within a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, genders and cultures.

During the 2014-15 financial year, 49% of calls to the emergency number 000 for a mental health intervention received a face-to-face response from PACER. 55% of the clients assessed by the PACER team were referred to community services without attending ED or having an inpatient admission. Prior to PACER, all of these presentations would have been taken to ED for a mental health assessment.

A survey of ED staff (including mental health clinicians), Police and PACER clinicians agreed or strongly agreed that PACER has:

  • provided patients with access to mental health treatment in a less restrictive manner;
  • decreased the amount of time that Police need to spend with patients, both in the community and at ED;
  • decreased the number of transports of patients to ED required by emergency services;
  • improved communication between Police and clinical services;
  • improved coordination of mental health patients through ED.

Outcome from Assessments

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Seclusion Rates at Bendigo Health.

A concerted effort to improve patient outcomes and reduce seclusion rates in the psychiatric services commenced at Bendigo Health in 2014.

As a result, the seclusion rates per 1000 bed days reduced by 72% (2013-14, 4th quarter). Individual hours in seclusion reduced by 60% and a financial saving of $63,000 (between Jan-Oct 2014) was made.

Police Ambulance Clinical Early Response

YPARC – Mental Health for the Young

YPARC is a state of the art 10-bed facility that provides 24-hour treatment and support for young people aged 16-25 experiencing difficulties with mental health.

Coordinated by Bendigo Health in partnership with Mind Australia, the facility is a significant boost to the mental health services available to young people in Bendigo and the Loddon Campaspe Southern Mallee region.

YPARC provides a short term ‘step up’ (from the community) or a ‘step down’ (from hospital) function to assist with successful transition back to the community and maximise recovery potential.

YPARC is a voluntary service so the young person needs to be willing to attend and engage in the psycho-social rehabilitation activities which are imbedded in the program. All young people are included in this peer led program with communal house meetings, meal planning, meal preparation and a sense of community.

The feedback from young people who have received care at YPARC is overwhelmingly positive. Based on satisfaction surveys completed on discharge, 82% of clients reported that they would recommend the unit to their peers should they be experiencing mental health problems.

In 2014-2015, 79% of young people requiring mental health assistance came directly from the community into YPARC, thus avoiding the need for a more serious and restrictive psychiatric inpatient admission.

Young people who receive care form YPARC are encouraged to give back to other young people experiencing mental health issues in the form of making “Life’s little helper bags”. The contents represent items that provide some comfort when struggling with life: for example, the rubber band helps stretch beyond personal limits, the heart is a reminder that somebody cares, the coin is for never being broke, and the string holds it all together.

YPARC Life’s Little Helper

To ensure that young people are receiving a holistic psycho-social approach, internal programs are offered, including the healthy eating group, gym activities with free passes supplied from a local gym, occupational therapy assessments, internet access to maintain and encourage social networks, as well as targeted therapies the forms of music and art. External assistance, support and education is also available for areas that affect young people’s lives, such as sexual health, financial counselling, legal aid, dietetics, drug and alcohol, and Centrelink.

YPARC Building

YPARC Building
YPARC saved me, I was (going) nowhere fast and didn’t care what I did to myself or the others around me, I was out of control and YPARC helped me get it back.Sarah 19

YPARC Relaxation Pod

YPARC Relaxation Pod