Outstanding Survey Results a Snapshot of Community Health Success Stories

Allied Health staff, back – Amber Buller (Allied Health Assistant), Susanna Hope (Dietetian) Steven Jay (Dietetian) Liam Abbey (Physiotherapist), and, front – Angela Meade (Occupational Therapist) and Justine Ward (Social Worker). Photo: Jake Lynch/BRHS


At BRHS, getting feedback from our patients and consumers is vitally important.

Put simply, feedback helps us be better. It helps us understand what our patients need and identify where we are lacking.

Equally important, it also tells staff when they are doing a great job. This has a real and long-lasting impact on the energy, commitment and passion those staff bring to work every day.

So we were thrilled to receive the findings from the recent Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) which reported that 97% of patients accessing our Community Health services had a positive experience.

Looking closer at the feedback of those patients that completed the survey in the last quarter of 2018:

  • 81% reported having a very good experience with our Community Health team, 16% had a good experience, and no patients reported having a negative experience.
  • 93% of patients reported always feeling treated with respect and dignity at this health service.
  • 91% said the health workers were always compassionate.
  • 91% said they were given the right amount of information about their issue or care.

The Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) is a state-wide survey of people’s public healthcare experiences, and is conducted by an independent contractor on behalf of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

Congratulations to all BRHS staff involved in providing Community Health services on these outstanding results.

Rather than just present the findings and rest on our laurels, we thought this is the perfect time to look closer at the various departments that provide Community Health services and ask “why?”

What is it about the way we provide these services that is resulted in such positive experiences for consumers?

So over the next couple of weeks we’ll be diving into some of the features of our Community Health services that we think are behind the team’s good work.



Photo: Jess Shapiro/BRHS

It’s probably not news to you that in most workplaces around the world, birds of a feather flock together.

That is, members of the various skill teams sit together. IT folks sit with IT folks. The accountants sit with the other accountants. The hairdressers work alongside the other hairdressers.

In some modern, cutting-edge workspaces, creative managers are experimenting with upending that traditional model, busting apart the silos and having staff members from the various departments sit next to each to mix up the skill sets and help staff expand their perspectives.

In our Allied Health building, that’s standard practice.

There, the four person work spaces, or pods, are deliberately designed to house no more than one staff person from each speciality area.

So, you’ll find a Physiotherapist sitting next to a Dietician, for example, and across from a Speech Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist.

Of course, necessity is often the mother of invention.

“The backstory is that when we first moved here, about 20 years ago, they put us all together because that’s what buildings we had,” said Jane O’Shanassy, Team Leader of Occupational Therapy and Allied Health Support. “But as the years have gone by, and we’ve grown, we’ve seen the tremendous value of having all the disciplines mingled together.”

What was born of necessity has become a tremendous strength of the service and a huge benefit to our patients.

To borrow from the hairdressers’ analogy:

Imagine you’re going to a wedding or some fancy function, and so you go to the hair salon to get your hair styled.

But this is no regular salon. In this salon, not only can you get your hair done you can also get measured for your dress, buy your shoes and order the limo.

All the services are provided for you, and coordinated, in the one space.

A lot of barriers to discharge can be solved with cooperation. – Liam Abbey

In the medical setting, this translates to a comprehensive, coordinated approach to treatment and rehabilitation.

Liam Abbey is a Physiotherapist in the Allied Health team.

He shares his workspace with an Occupational Therapist and Lymphoedema Therapist, a Dietician and an Allied Health Assistant. Abbey says the coordination that happens is sometimes formal and structured, and sometimes an organic product of shared proximity.

“Just from overhearing the conversations they have, I’ve learned a lot,” Abbey said.

In addition to spontaneous, casual interactions between the disciplines in the shared office space, Allied Health staff do joint assessments of patients, and create discharge plans for patients that include input from the various specialties.

We all know each other, and we work together. – Jane O’Shanassy

Here’s an example of what that multi-disciplinary approach looks like in real life:

“Let’s say we are treating a patient that has had a stroke,” O’Shanassy says. “We want to help the patient maintain and improve mobility, and avoid the risk of pressure injuries. That patient would need a Physiotherapist to progress his mobility, an Occupational Therapist to help him do things like shower and dress, potentially a Speech Pathologist, and a Dietician to make sure the patient is receiving adequate nutrition during his recovery.”

By physically sharing the same work space, at BRHS those various specialities are communicating with each other frequently throughout the day about the holistic management plan for that patient’s care.

“A lot of barriers to discharge can be solved with cooperation,” Abbey says. “A patient’s physical capacity to manage at home is often dependent on a number of things. It could be a Physio working with a Dietician, but also a Social Worker to make sure the conditions at home are right for that patient.”

O’Shanassy says this kind of intimate coordination is a natural benefit of a small hospital.

“We all know each other, and we work together.”

For more information about Allied Health services at BRHS visit www.brhs.com.au/service/allied-health-services/