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AMA awards gold medal to PA Hospital clinician

3 September 2021

Princess Alexandra Hospital Emergency Department Consultant, Dr Ellen Burkett, has been recognised by the Australian Medical Association with a gold medal for her Aged Care management program. 

Inspired by Dr David Green in 2009 and his Aged Care Early Intervention and Management program at the Gold Coast, Dr Burkett co-designed with PA Hospital Gerontology Clinical Nurse Consultant Dawn Bandiera, and Metro South Health’s Executive Director of Nursing Services, Veronica Casey, an Aged Care Early Intervention and Management (ACEIM) program specific to the PAH Emergency Department (ED). 

The program provided a structured gerontic nursing assessment of residents of aged care presenting to the ED focussed on improving outcomes for these frail patients. 

“In 2014, the residential aged care acute care support service built on the success of ACEIM with co-design by an extensive team of relevant clinicians, consumers and stakeholders, and the support of Clinical Excellence Queensland’s Healthcare Improvement Unit and Metro South Health to create CARE-PACT.

“CARE-PACT continues to deliver positive impacts for residents and healthcare systems across Metro South Health, with improved choices, processes and evidence-based care, with the support of telephone triage, mobile emergency care, structured assessments, discharge planning as well as follow up services,” said Dr Burkett.

She said the CARE-PACT team of clinical nurses, clinical nurse consultants, nurse practitioners, nurse navigators, medical, allied health and administrative members all played an invaluable role in consultation and advocacy for this cohort, developing clinical guidelines and supporting RACF acute care support services teams to provide expanded emergency support to RACF residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Now under the leadership of Dr Terry Nash, the CARE-PACT team continues to innovate, improve and lead positive change across the care continuum,” she said.

With the support of Healthcare Improvement Units’ Michael Zanco, Laureen Hines and Tamara Ward, Dr Burkett and her state-wide co-lead, Redlands Hospital Emergency Nurse Practitioner Erin Cranitch, have since supported the scale and spread of this CARE-PACT / RACF acute care support services model of care to an additional nine hospital and health services across Queensland.

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team pivoted to develop Queensland Health clinical guidelines for COVID preparedness for the Residential Aged Care (RACF) sector.

“None of these state-wide successes would have been possible without the initial support of Metro South Health Executive and Board, the mentorship of Dr Michael Daly and Professor Ian Scott and the support of the PAH Emergency Department executive and staff,” Dr Burkett said.

Dr Burkett accepted the award in August on behalf of and in acknowledgement of every original and succeeding member of the CARE-PACT team and all clinicians working in aged care across the care continuum in Queensland whose tireless efforts have facilitated improved choice and care for the most frail cohort.

Last updated 3 September 2021
Last reviewed 3 September 2021

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