Another tale from South Australia- Tamsin takes the prize!

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Aileen writes: You may recall my blog last week telling you about our collaborative work with Ms Tamsin Symonds on an important project to explore safety and quality for people with dementia and delirium in hospital. One of my tasks, along with Dr Annmarie Hosie, was to support Tamsin with an invited presentation at a Research Week organised by the South Adelaide Local Health Network….so we were absolutely delighted to hear the news this week that Tamsin’s work on behalf of her team has been recognized as winner of the nursing presentation award!

In the presentation, Tamsin told everyone a bit about the project:

“What we do on Ward 5 is unique, patient-centred and patient-directed. It’s about THEM.”

“As health care professionals, we often have trouble articulating what it is that we do.  And particularly, when caring for people with dementia, we often hear “I don’t know how you do that job”; our standard answer often is “we just do it”. But what is it that we “just do”? How do we get the best possible outcomes for our patients? WHY and HOW do we do what we “just do”?

The project is designed to gain an insight into what constitutes safe and quality care from patients, their families, the health care professionals and ancillary staff on the unit.  Rather than looking at why things go wrong, the focus of the project is why things go RIGHT. It’s about a change in focus – identifying what is done well, as well as where we need to do better. “

In awarding the prize, Karen White, Nursing Director of the Centre for Nursing & Midwifery Education & Research, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network said:

“I was pleased that we had a chance to showcase nursing-led research work and felt that you portrayed our profession in a positive and innovative light. Well done Tamsin, you should be very proud of the innovative work that you are undertaking.”

 We have a long way to go so that all people with dementia and delirium receive high quality and safe care in hospital. Only this week, Associate Professor Andrew Teodorczuk argued in a tweet that: “Delirium remains the most common hospital complication. Occurrence rates are set to rise as the population ages and, despite being preventable and treatable, delirium continues to be under-recognised. Given the adverse outcomes associated with delirium and the considerable financial burden, patients with delirium must be considered ‘core business’ for 21st century hospitals.”

Recognition of Tamsin’s work underlines the importance of hearing the voices of people with cognitive impairment and their families. It is these voices that need to inform future care for this growing group of people.

Tamsin will receive funding from the Centre for Nursing & Midwifery Education & Research to attend the 2018 Australian College of Nursing National Nursing Forum.

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