SCHN wins NSW Health Award

Congratulations to our ‘Quiet Pathway’ team from CHW which today won a NSW Health Award for its exceptional contribution to enhancing the experience of patients and families.

The team took out the Transforming Patient Experience Award for its ‘Quiet Pathway’ initiative, a program which aims to make the perioperative journey less stressful for children with severe anxiety, autism, behavioural or intellectual disabilities. 

The Quiet Pathway for Special Kids program involves working with carers to tailor care to support the individual needs of the child, including pre-hospital anxiety management. Collaboration between healthcare teams means multiple procedures can be carried out under one anaesthetic, reducing the need for hospital admissions. When patients come to hospital they are admitted directly to an anaesthesia bay, avoiding crowded areas and distractions. Creating a safe and calm space reduces anxiety for the child and their family.  

For CHW patient Ronan who has complex needs including autism, epilepsy and high anxiety, the Quiet Pathway has made a major difference to his hospital experience.

Ronan’s dad Ian says new situations can be extremely stressful for Ronan and the Quiet Pathway has helped reduce that anxiety and made medical treatments more manageable for Ronan, his family and hospital staff.

“Trying to fit Ronan into the processes and environment used for other patients did not work and was very traumatic for him. Any transition into something he’s unsure of can freak him out or cause a meltdown and because of his size it can be hard to control. We have had emergency admissions where they have had to clear out the emergency room to allow him to come through. Now we come through the side entrance and it’s very quiet, there’s no one else around and he remains as calm as he can be given the situation. In order to keep him safe and the people around him safe the Quiet Pathway is a brilliant idea and I couldn’t advocate more for it.”

The 'Quiet Pathway' was one of 11 winners announced at the NSW Health Awards today, selected from 192 nominations and 33 finalists.

Project lead, Dr Jonathan De Lima, Senior Staff Specialist Anaesthetist, said the award was a wonderful recognition of the original concept, the diligence and flexibility of the team and the teamwork that goes into the program.

“More especially it’s a real recognition of the carers of these children with severe autism and other conditions. We take our hats off to the mothers and fathers and carers who look after these kids 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, year in, year out, so it’s wonderful to be be able to take some of the anxiety from them,” he said.

NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce said all 11 winners are outstanding examples of how staff continued to deliver excellent, patient-centred care during a very challenging year.

“The NSW Health Awards are a celebration of the many exceptional people who constantly strive to make our hospitals and services more responsive to the needs of our patients and their families,” Ms Pearce said.

“I am in awe of the determination, community spirit and dedication constantly exhibited by NSW Health staff and extend my warmest congratulations to the 2021 winners and finalists.”

More information about the 'Quiet Pathway' and a full list of winners and their projects can be found on the NSW Health website