“The awards are an important opportunity to show appreciation for the exceptional leadership and care provided by the palliative care community across Australia,” says Camilla Rowland, Chief Executive Officer, Palliative Care Australia (PCA).
“Every two years as part of the Oceanic Palliative Care Conference, these awards shine a light on the doctors, nurses, physios, dietitians, music therapists, social workers, OTs, volunteers - all those involved in that team approach to palliative care.
“Everyone has been looking forward to this night of recognition, especially considering the pressure the health and care sectors have been under through the pandemic.”
Eight awards were presented in a glittering ceremony hosted by comedy great Jean Kittson in the Grand Ballroom at the International Convention Centre, Sydney, attended by 900 people.
Lifetime Achievement Award - Dr Geoffrey Mitchell, Emeritus Professor, University of Queensland and Partner at Limestone Medical Centre, Ipswich
Described as one of palliative care's quiet achievers, Geoffrey is always thinking of the person whether that is the patient or the family.
He has over 450 peer-reviewed publications and about 40 books, book chapters and other publications, and is in demand nationally and internationally as a speaker.
His clinical practice and research experience offer an unprecedented opportunity to influence practice at the interface between primary care and specialist practice, particularly palliative care practice.
At the heart of that work is Geoffrey’s 37-year career as a GP caring for the Ipswich community.
Emerging Leader Award - Annie Jorgensen, Goulburn Valley Hospice Care Service
Over the last 5 years, Annie has developed into an exceptional leader at Goulburn Valley Hospice and Care Service, a stand-alone community palliative care provider in northern Victoria.
Her presence has given a strong sense of stability during a period of change and crisis, while also guiding a relatively new team in improved outcomes for patients and their loved ones.
Emerging Researcher Award - Rachel Coghlan, Deakin University
Rachel’s PhD exploring palliative care in the war zone of Gaza has been described as ground- breaking.
Her work is influencing policy and practice within health organisations globally right now.
Marked by a leadership style that is bold and courageous, Rachel is challenging the status quo. But more than that, she embodies the humanness that her research seeks to serve.
Outstanding Achievement by a Team Award - Ward 1A at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
Ward 1A provides a state-wide specialist palliative care service to patients, families, and caregivers.
The unit consists of 12 single rooms, two of which are purpose built to cater for the unique needs of young people aged 16 to 25.
A patient focus guides Ward 1A’s innovation, of special note are the personalised patient gowns and bereavement bags initiatives that acknowledge the colour and individuality of human life.
Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Palliative Care Award - Julie Rose, Hunter New England Local Health District
At this key time in Australia’s understanding and appreciation of First Nation’s culture, Julie brings a 30-year career in caring for her community.
Her research and leadership have shaped culturally save and aware models of care for her local Aboriginal community, around a spirit of co-design and consultation.
Julie’s knowledge and understanding are also influencing policy development at a bigger health district level as well as organisations in other sectors.
Outstanding Achievement in Volunteering Award - Eastern Palliative Care, Victoria
This team of 200 working volunteers, collectively delivers over 22,500 volunteer hours of service to the community each year, which translates into work worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Volunteer involvement has reduced hospitalisations by 33%, while also decreasing levels of pain, discomfort, and drowsiness for those they are working with.
Already adding their weight to 16 different programs, three new volunteer teams have been developed to cover overnight respite, interpreter services, and phone outreach.
Innovation in Palliative Care Award - Eldercare, South Australia
Eldercare is now one of two aged care providers in South Australia that employs a dedicated palliative care team.
Since November 2021, 23 Eldercare personal cares have completed their Certificate 3 with a focus on palliative care, a palliative care training program has also been delivered to frontline staff and Needs Rounds have been embedded into ‘business as usual’ at all 12 Eldercare locations.
Because of their success, Eldercare has been asked to develop the palliative care capability of other aged care providers on behalf of SA Health.
Outstanding Achievement by an Individual Award - Kate Munro, Hunter New England Health NSW
Kate’s exceptional achievements and dedication to excellence in patient care, education and clinical supervision make her a deserving winner of this prestigious award.
With a start at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Kate became a Registered Sick Children’s Nurse in 1976, the spark of what has become a lifelong passion for palliative care.
In her current role as Nurse Manager with Hunter New England Health in NSW, Kate optimisers the wholistic nature of palliative care and its embrace of symptom management, spiritual and psychosocial care.
“Congratulations to all our winners and the finalists in each category, your work is exceptional, and you are great role models for quality palliative care,” Ms Rowland says.
“Palliative care supports quality of life and it's important that we recognise the people who deliver that care day in and day out through these awards.
The 2023 National Palliative Care Awards were sponsored by Silverchain - a leading in-home provider of complete health and aged care services in Australia, supporting over 115,000 people each year.
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