Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 30 October 2020

As of today, we have:

  • Three COVID-19 positive inpatients
  • One employee with COVID-19
  • Five employees in precautionary quarantine

Monash Health Foundation’s COVID-19 Research Fund

Earlier this year the Monash Health Foundation launched a community appeal to raise funds to support promising research into COVID-19 at Monash Health. We were delighted by the community response, which saw close to $500,000 donated.

The Monash Health Foundation’s COVID-19 Research Fund received a similarly overwhelming response from our research community, with 40 Monash Health researchers applying for grants of up to $100,000.

Pleasingly, the recipients of the grants have now been announced and their targeted, innovative studies will place Monash Health at the forefront of Victoria’s research efforts to combat COVID-19.

I’d especially like to acknowledge the generous support provided by Freemasons Foundation Victoria, who provided matching gifts for this appeal and, in doing so, effectively doubled the reach of the community contribution.

Model of Care and EMR

As part of our transition to a COVID-normal Model of Care, we have implemented a range of important updates and changes in the EMR. These include:

  • A new EMR COVID-19 Dashboard
  • New alerts for SCOVID Low Risk and SCOVID Probable
  • New COVID-19 Testing Plan Document (Autotext)
  • Updated COVID-19 Suspected Clearance (Autotext)

Medical teams are asked to familiarise themselves with the Managing COVID-19 patients in the EMR guide and, similarly, the COVID-19 Visibility for Nurses and Midwives guide includes vital information for this cohort of employees. As the landscape continues to evolve, it’s important for everyone to ensure that they remain up-to-date with the latest information.

COVID-19 Employee Survey

More than 3,000 of our people have responded to our second COVID-19 employee survey. While this response rate is impressive, we want to hear from as many of you as possible and have extended the deadline. Your feedback helps inform the changes and improvements we make in the future and ensures that we continue to support you in a meaningful way.

Gathering of Kindness

This year has presented challenges across all aspects of our lives and many people are feeling physically and emotionally depleted. Investing in kindness is a powerful way of ‘recharging our batteries’ and we are presenting a number of events to help you do just that as part of our Gathering of Kindness program, commencing Monday 9 November.

These events include:

  • Schwartz Round on Thursday with a focus on kindness, hosted by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Anjali Dhulia,
  • three separate sessions on World Kindness Day, Friday 13 November, and
  • a range of video resources.

Thank you once again for your ongoing dedication and commitment.

Andrew Stripp

Chief Executive


Key Messages

Monash Health COVID-19 research grant awardees announced

This year the Monash Health Foundation ran a community appeal to raise funds to support promising research into COVID-19 at Monash Health. The community responded very generously and donated close to $500,000. Monash Health researchers were invited to apply for grants of up to $100,000. Forty applications were received and the awardees of the grants have now been announced. Check out the list here.

EMR changes in response to our COVID-19 Model of Care

Our focus is on ensuring the EMR continues to best meet the needs of our organisation and, in particular, our continued safe COVID-19 response. To support our transition to a COVID-normal Model of Care, a range of important updates and changes have been implemented in the EMR. Learn more here.

Survey deadline extended – over 3,000 have responded, have you?

We’ve already had a strong response to the COVID-19 employee survey, but we’re keen to drive those numbers up higher. This is your opportunity to take five minutes and tell us what is working and where further effort is needed. Given the public holidays, we’re keeping the survey open until the close of business next Friday, 6 November. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your say now.

Beyond the Mask Episode 4 – Merran Taylor

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close, we bring you a very special Beyond the Mask video today. Merran Taylor, a Clinical Coder in the HIS team, chose to wear her Young Women’s Breast Cancer Charity ‘So Brave’ t-shirt for the intro selfie. Watch the video to hear Merran discuss work and home life during the lockdown, and how her husband Scott has become a virtual part of the team! Be sure to take some time and read about the poignant and inspirational story behind Merran’s So Brave t-shirt too. Get inspired here.

Free, dedicated breast screening for employees and volunteers

Monash BreastScreen is the largest service in Victoria. Approximately 60,000 women per year are screened across their seven screening sites. At a recent employee forum, we heard from the Monash Health Breast Services team about the importance of regular breast screening for early detection.

If you are over 50 and never had a breast screen before, or are due for your two-yearly screen, the Monash BreastScreen team is making it easy for you to book an appointment. Throughout November, the team will be opening free sessions specifically for Monash Health employees and volunteers. Learn more here.

Delirium and COVID-19

Delirium is a serious condition, characterised by an acute change in mental state. A person with delirium may experience disturbances in consciousness, attention, perception and cognition. COVID-19 was initially thought to be predominantly a respiratory disease. However, evidence is now emerging that, particularly in older adults, COVID-19 may present with atypical symptoms including delirium.

At Monash Health there are several resources that can assist in caring for patients with cognitive impairment. Learn more here.

The Gathering of Kindness – check out what’s on

In keeping with our strategic principle of working together with humility, respect, kindness and compassion, we are excited to be participating once again in the Gathering of Kindness celebrations from 9 to 13 November. The Gathering of Kindness is a movement founded by Dr Catherine Crock, a Paediatrician and the CEO of the Hush Foundation. The movement aims to build and nurture a culture of kindness. The Gathering of Kindness week is a good opportunity for us all to reflect on how we show kindness to our patients and colleagues. This year, the Gathering of Kindness is going virtual. There are a number of ways you can get involved. Learn more here.

Occupational Therapy Week – rebuild, recover and re-engage

This week is Occupational Therapy Week – a great opportunity to celebrate the contribution our occupational therapists make to the health, wellbeing, engagement and quality of life for our patients at all stages of their healthcare journey. This year’s theme is ‘Resilience: Supporting our communities to rebuild, recover, and re-engage’, which highlights the importance of individuals being supported to re-engage in disrupted occupations such as daily routines, activities and employment. Learn more here.

Casey Perinatal Mental Health Multidisciplinary Team Forum – supporting pregnant women and mental health

October is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Casey Hospital has recently introduced the ‘Casey Perinatal Mental Health Multidisciplinary Team Forum’ to help care for pregnant women with mental health illness or social vulnerabilities.

Pregnant women with mental health illness often engage with various services at Monash Health and in the community. The new forum at Casey Hospital allows healthcare providers to come together to discuss the care of women. Learn more here.

Finding comfort in the quilt – how art therapy is connecting our wards

There is no doubt that healthcare workers are under more pressure during COVID-19. While it is normal to experience increased levels of stress and anxiety, sometimes we need to think creatively to ensure we maintain our health and wellbeing. To help with this, our Art Therapy team has rolled out the ‘Comfort Quilt’ project. The project aims to facilitate and support the mental health of Monash Health employees. Learn more here.

Rainbow door launched to support LGBTIQA+ during and after COVID-19

Rainbow door is a new free service from Switchboard Victoria, offering information, support, advice and referral to LGBTIQA+ Victorians, their friends and family during and after COVID-19.  The service provides assessment and short-term case management. It also links people to culturally safe services to support them with issues including family and intimate partner violence (including elder abuse), sexual assault, housing, AOD, legal issues, social isolation, mental health and wellbeing. Learn more here.

Competition to name employee meals marquees

What’s in a name? It’s an age-old question, and now you have the opportunity to be creative with another naming process – that of four new meals marquees that have recently been installed across Monash Health facilities. You have the chance to have some fun and name one of the structures. It could be something like the ‘Dandy Deli’, or the ‘Casey Cantina’, or your imagination may come up with something far more exotic or entertaining. The closing date for entries has been extended until Thursday 7 November. Learn more here.

Continue to take advantage of wellbeing resources

Take advantage of the health and wellbeing resources we have available for you, including the Call a Psychologist service and the employee assistance program. Don’t forget the basics of your physical health and remember we have links to resources online for you and your teams, including a helpful guide to stretching at your desk, wherever that desk might be.

Ensure you are working to the most up-to-date advice

The information about COVID-19 is changing rapidly. Ensure you are working to the most up-to-date advice by referring to the Monash Health Employee Coronavirus website. To make accessing the site quicker, you can create a shortcut on your smartphone by following these instructions.

Upcoming events

Stay up to date with events on our COVID-19 website for Monash Health employees.

Medical Grand Round – Excellence in clinical practice, 12.30pm Wednesday 4 November

Medical Grand Rounds are created for medical employees but are open to all Monash Health employees.


  • Welcome and COVID-19 update
  • ‘From Sentinel to optimal’


  • Andrew Stripp, Chief Executive
  • Professor Rhonda Stuart, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Epidemiology
  • Dr Anjali Dhulia, Chief Medical Officer
  • Kate MacDermid, Director Quality and Safety
  • Prof Carlos Scheinkestel, Executive Director Quality and Safety
  • Peter Ryan, Director Legal Services
  • Dr Javaria Mustafa, Hospital Medical Officer
  • Dr Anna Korin, Senior Clinician Quality and Risk
  • Dr Alice Stewart, Service Director, Monash Newborn, Deputy Program Director, Women’s and Newborn

Read more.

Employee Forum, 2pm Thursday 5 November

Thursday’s Employee Forums have a wellbeing focus.

Read more.

All managers are requested to share these updates with their teams and discuss at stand-ups and handovers. Please print a copy and display it in communication books and on employee noticeboards.

As advice and information evolve, please consult the latest updates and visit the Department of Health and Human Services and Monash Health COVID-19 website for employees regularly for the latest.

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