Good work and practices of Cobar Hospital in the spotlight

Cobar’s health services manager Mary Urquhart was recently invited to present at a major health care conference in Sydney. ▪ Photo contributed

The good work and practices of the staff at Cobar Hospital were put in the spotlight recently when the hospital’s health services manager, Mary Urquhart recently addressed a major health conference.

Mrs Urquhart was invited to speak at the  ‘Studer Group Australasia – What’s Right in Health Care Conference’ in Sydney last month about her personal journey introducing the Studer practices to her Cobar Hospital staff.

She said Scott McLachlan, Chief Executive of Western NSW Local Health District (LHD), had introduced the Studer group living well skills and tactics to the Western NSW LHD having seen them work previously in the Hunter and New England health districts.

Mr McLachlan had seen great results in the reduction in falls, as well as improvements in workforce culture and he wanted to introduce that into the Western NSW LHD.

Mrs Urquhart said she had been sceptical at first.

“I looked at the results of what had happened in other facilities.

“Nyngan really got on board and really started using the tools and tactics, and one of the tools and tactics that they started with was rounding,” Mrs Urquhart said.

“You round with your staff once a month;  you ask them a series of questions: what’s working well? Who’s doing a good job and how would you like to recognise them? What’s not working well and how can we improve it? And what tools and resources you need to do your job?”

She said under the Studer guidelines you can do that in a general way or you can hone in on a specific topic.

“Say it’s work, health and safety, so what is working well in work, health and safety? What can we improve upon?”

Mrs Urquhart told the conference that on reflection the only barrier to having the Living Well Together program working well in Cobar was herself.

“I am a very competitive person (and I mentioned that in my presentation). I don’t like being beaten, and I don’t like being not the best, so basically on reflection my behaviour and my bad behaviour was impacting on the facility.”

Mrs Urquhart said they gradually introduced  the Studer Group skills and tactics one at a time and now use all of the recommended tools and tactics.

She said since embracing the program the improvements in their statistics has been remarkable.

“Our workplace culture in 2011 was 54 per cent and in 2016 it was 84 per cent.

“In 2011 we had 30 falls, in 2013 it was 28.

“In 2016 that went down to one and so far in 2017, we’ve had two.”

She said the Cobar staff has embraced the Studer Group tools and tactics as well as a number of other programs to ensure their patients get the very best of care.