Chief Executive COVID -19 Update: 13 November 2020

Message from the Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • Two COVID-19 positive inpatients
  • No employees with COVID-19
  • One employee in precautionary quarantine

Changes to visitation

Following the easing of restrictions announced by the Premier, we have made updates to our hospital visitor restrictions effective from 1pm today.

The changes increase the number of visitors per patient where physical distancing allows, allow people aged 16 and under to visit, and remove the time limit for partners visiting maternity wards.

Visitors may find visitation restrictions challenging – please explain to them the importance of physical distancing and the need to keep our patients safe. Discuss any exceptional circumstances with your team leader and the treating team to make the best decision for our patients.

In line with these changes to our visitor policy, the free TV service in place to help patients while strong restrictions were in place will cease.

Art installation during NAIDOC Week

As part of our NAIDOC Week celebrations, we’re delighted to launch a series of Aboriginal art installations created by Dixon Patten. These will begin appearing across our campuses in the coming months.

We’re committed to creating culturally safe and welcoming spaces, and it’s pleasing to see this visually represented. We will continue to collaborate to ensure Indigenous people are able to share their culture and tell their stories, and you can read more here about what the different elements of the artwork represent.

Victorian Honour Roll of Women inducts board member Associate Professor Misty Jenkins

I am pleased to share that Associate Professor Misty Jenkins has been inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.

Associate Professor Jenkins, an advocate for gender equity and Aboriginal health and education, was one of 32 names added to the Victorian Government’s honour roll for 2020. The Victorian Honour Roll of Women is an initiative of Women Victoria, recognising women who demonstrate remarkable leadership and excellence in their field.

As a Monash Health board member since November 2016, Associate Professor Jenkins serves on the Board’s Quality Committee and Aboriginal Health Strategic Partnership Committee.

Associate Professor Jenkins is a laboratory head at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research and a proud Gunditjmara woman, who was the first Indigenous Australian to attend the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge as a postdoctoral research fellow.

Please join me in congratulating Misty on her achievement.

Gathering of Kindness

This week has provided an opportunity to champion kindness, and there have been a host of activities and events to celebrate this important yet sometimes overlooked quality. There have been many heartwarming stories of kindness in action, and one that caught my eye was from one of our volunteer co-ordinators.

Layle Ward resided in one of the suburbs that went back into Stage 3 lockdown, along with a number of residential towers. She described it as a “surreal time” and “somewhat shocking and frightening”. The following Monday, Layle received a call from Monash Health’s Mental Health service and spoke to one of the team members. Her words offer an insight into the impact of that call:

“His voice was calm and soothing. He spoke to me as if I was the most important person in the world and showed compassion and kindness when I was feeling shock, distress and disbelief. He let me empty my cup and talk through the moments as they were happening in real-time in front of my eyes. This act of kindness from him and the greater Monash Health team gave me hope and faith that all would be ok in a moment when things were not ok. Thank you to all of Monash Health for the amazing team you are. You have my gratitude for being a part of such a wonderful organisation.”

Layle’s experience once again highlights the importance and impact of kindness and human connection. These play a vital role in healthcare at any time, and even more so this year.

Thank you once again for the kindness you demonstrate every day.

Andrew Stripp

Chief Executive


Key Messages

Beyond the Mask

Our Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Epidemiology, Professor Rhonda Stuart, is featured in our latest Beyond the Mask episode. This series has provided insights into some of our dedicated and talented people in the context of the pandemic. For those of us within Monash Health – and to many beyond our organisation – Rhonda has been a reassuring figure in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the video to find out a little more about how Rhonda felt during these unique and unusual times.

Christmas celebrations

The festive season is just around the corner. For ward and unit decorations, it is best to keep in mind that anything that can be touched could be a potential risk if COVID-19 cases were to increase.

For this reason, we are suggesting that ward decorations be placed in areas not easily accessed by employees and public – for instance, on ceilings and above doors. Additionally, when considering Christmas functions and get-togethers, be mindful that we still need to comply with DHHS guidelines, that outside spaces are better than indoor ones and that the rules of physical distancing and mask-wearing still apply.

Learn about our new recruitment immunisation requirements

From Thursday 26 November, all preferred external candidates must provide immunisation evidence before they can receive an offer of employment. Immunisation ensures our employees and our patients, clients, and families are in a safe environment and importantly prevents the transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases. Learn more here.

Virtual care trial ensures timely, high-quality care continues 

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant we have had to find ways to keep our patients, employees and community safe while continuing to deliver high-quality care. Trialling Virtual Care initially across our COVID-19 wards allows treating teams to conduct ward rounds, family meetings, and specialist consults via a device. We’ve recently expanded this roll-out to incorporate other teams, including PICU and Gastromedicine. Learn more here.

Spreading kindness – your stories 

The Gathering of Kindness is a time to stop and reflect on kindness in the workplace. We see kindness manifest in the workplace in many ways amongst employees, volunteers, consumers, patients and their families. We asked you to share moments of kindness you’ve experienced recently – read a few stories here that showcase the kindness we see around Monash Health.

Surgery and Interventional Service Program update

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our surgical services and waiting lists during 2020. During this disruptive global pandemic, our Surgical Program and its people have supported us to maintain and preserve service availability during a time of heavy demand for hospital-wide resources, to manage our pandemic response, coupled with restrictions on elective and other surgeries. The Surgical Program is developing and implementing a new ‘COVID-normal’ operating rhythm as part of looking beyond 2020. Learn more here.

Oncology Teletrials

In September 2020, while Victoria dealt with COVID-19 border restrictions, Oncology Research was faced with a slightly different hurdle: How will interstate patients continue their essential trial treatments and activities? Ensuring our trials could be performed under Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines, were permissible by the Sponsor, and avoided interstate travel would require a whole new approach. The answer was Teletrials. Learn more here.

Record numbers tune in to Allied Health Assistants Day event

This year’s Allied Health Day event was broadcast to over 500 attendees, representing every State and Territory across Australia, a feat which four years ago would have been unimaginable. Attendees had the pleasure of hearing from AHAs internal to Monash Health, as well as those from across the country speaking to various innovative works from within their disciplines. Read more here.

Monash Immunisation closes drive-in and returns to MMC 

After more than six months operating Monash Health’s whole of life immunisation clinic as a drive-in service, the team will return to Monash Medical Centre Clayton from Monday 16 November.

During this time, the team immunised more than 5,500 members of our community. Learn more here.

VHHSBA webinar on environmental sustainability best practice

The Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority (VHHSBA) is hosting an industry webinar  on Thursday 19 November 9.30am – 12.00pm. The focus will be on sharing environmental sustainability best practice across the Victorian health sector. This free online event is open to employees across the health services who are interested in learning about the policies, plans and practical initiatives underway supporting the transition to a more environmentally sustainable healthcare system. Among the presentations will be the pathology testing undertaken at Monash Health. A full list of speakers and topics covered can be found 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.

Employee Forum, 2pm Tuesday 17 November

Read more.

Paediatric Grand Round – The Hidden Victors, 12.30pm Wednesday 18 November

Read more.

Employee Forum – STAR Awards, 2pm Thursday 19 November

Read more.

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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