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RDNS scoops top international awards

Australia's Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Victoria has scooped three major trophies at the prestigious Ageing Asia Eldercare Innovation awards in Singapore.
RDNS Institute director, Dr Susan Koch, was a special guest on MediaCorp’s 938LIVE.

RDNS won the Best Staff Capability Development Program category for its Manager’s Toolkit, a major program initiated to equip managers to lead organisational change.

RDNS was also awarded two finalist trophies which includes recognition of its Skin Awareness Program, a major research activity being undertaken by the RDNS Institute.

The awards were recently presented at a special international dinner at the Ageing Asia Investment Forum in Singapore.

The winning program – the Manager’s Toolkit – uses five identified competence areas, allowing RDNS managers to systematically lead staff and manage processes in a cultural change environment.

The program – aligned to Health Workforce Australia’s LEADS framework and introduced to RDNS by chief executive Adjunct Professor Stephen Muggleton – is run across the organisation bi-monthly. 

Professor Muggleton began using the LEADS framework after studying the program at Canada’s Royal Roads University with its founder Dr Graham Dickinson seven years ago.

“I was impressed by the way it captures elements like stakeholder engagement, system design and self management that are missing from so many other clinical and management programs,” Professor Muggleton said.

“We’ve then added different modules or ‘tools’ that are now essential in an environment of rapid change and stress. Examples include modules on resilience, emotional intelligence, effective change management and crucial conversations,” he said.

The program is part of the leadership strategy that has steered RDNS towards rapid growth and strategic diversification over the past three years. 

With community care services in every Australian state, New Zealand and China, RDNS has a ‘world-class’ health call centre, a collaborative research institute and a suite of tailored education and consultancy services.

The Skin Awareness Program (SAP), a significant research project used in the battle against chronic health conditions, is helping people look after their skin through a series of e-learning modules.

With natural ageing and conditions such as diabetes and obesity increasing the risk of pressure ulcers and other skin injuries, the health promotion program helps to prevent skin injuries – especially among the elderly.

According to research fellow at the RDNS Institute, Suzanne Kapp, many people do not know the potential seriousness of skin injuries.

“Skin ulcers cause disfigurement, pain, suffering and financial expense,” Ms Kapp said. said.

“Christopher Reeve, who was best known for his role as Superman, lived with chronic wounds and died at the age of 52 from complications associated with a pressure ulcer. This underscores the vulnerability of skin and the importance of being aware, educated and proactive.”

Chronic skin issues, such as non-healing wounds, tend to affect older people because ageing skin is more prone to damage – but younger people can also be affected if they suffer chronic health conditions which have an impact on the skin, Ms Kapp claimed.

SAP participants develop a Skin Health Plan and set their own goals for their skin care, injury prevention and pressure management. The program incorporates simple language, images, animations and short sections of text to appeal to a range of learning styles.  It also helps carers of people who have limited mobility or cognitive impairment.  

Evaluation of the program, which is funded by the federal government’s Department of Social Services (under the Encouraging Better Practice in Aged Care initiative), is now being conducted, with results expected early next year.


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