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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Nurse navigator guides Townsville family with health care

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Nurse navigator guides Townsville family with health care

    A Townsville couple whose 18-month-old daughter suffers from Bronchiectasis is being guided through the health system by one of the nurse navigators employed under a Palaszczuk Government program to help patients with complex health care needs.

    Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said in the past 12 months, six nurse navigators had been introduced at The Townsville Hospital and 121 across all hospital and health services.

    The Minister met the young family, parents Toni Kirk and Evan Simpson and daughter Sasha, whose journey through the health system has been made easier by a nurse navigator.

    Since November last year, nurse navigator Johanna Cromley has acted as a guide for the family as 18-month-old Sasha receives treatment for Bronchiectasis, a condition where the bronchial tubes of the lung are damaged.

    “People are often at their lowest – mentally, emotionally and physically – when they are sick and often they need just as much support and advice as they do health care,” Mr Dick said.

    “Nurse navigators like Johanna act as guides; ensuring patients are seen by the right person, at the right time and in the right place.

    “The Palaszczuk Government is delivering on its election commitment to roll out nurse navigators to improve patient health care statewide.”

    For Ms Kirk and Mr Simpson, the last six months have been a blur of different treatments in different departments.

    Since Sasha’s first presentation to hospital she has had a CT scan, a bronchoscopy, been admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, spent time in the paediatric ward and had a number of paediatric outreach appointments.

    “We’ve been in and out of hospital since November 2016, staying for up to four weeks at a time,” Ms Kirk said.

    “Having (nurse navigator) Jo with us has made our experience so much easier; she provides a central point of contact and helps keep all our appointments, referrals and anything related to Sasha’s care in order.”

    Ms Kirk said Ms Cromley not only helped from a medical point of view, but an emotional one as well.

    “Understandably, the doctors and nurses are very focussed on Sasha’s care, but Jo provides emotional support for our family as well,” she said.

    “She gives us peace of mind as well as someone to listen when I just need to talk.

    “I know I can always phone Jo when we are at home if Sasha is having any issues and she will organise an outreach visit or an appointment with the doctors at the hospital.”

    Ms Cromley said the service was evolving well. 

    “I have a history in paediatrics and know all the staff in the unit really well,” Ms Cromley said.

    “It’s an excellent role and I really enjoy looking after patients in a holistic way.”

    Ms Cromley said being able to develop a rapport with the family was essential to her role.

    “I meet regularly with Toni and Evan and they feed back to me where Sasha is with her care; our communication channels work both ways,” she said.

    “Nurse navigators use a caseload model of care so any time Sasha’s condition flares up or is exacerbated Toni and Evan know they can speak to someone who is familiar with her care.

    “Sasha is definitely a fighter and it’s been wonderful to have the opportunity to get to know this lovely family and help them on their journey.”

    Mr Dick said the introduction of nurse navigators across Queensland had seen an improvement in patient outcomes and enabled an integrated approach to health service delivery.

    “Patients with appointed nurse navigators are experiencing less emergency department presentations, less unnecessary hospital admissions and less avoidable readmissions than ever before,” he said.

    Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said it was great to see nurse navigators were making a difference for local families.

    “Going to hospital or having a loved one needing hospital care is an incredibly stressful experience,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

    “Nurse navigators are just one way we can help make that experience a little easier.”

    Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the nurses’ wealth of experience was proving integral to helping patients dealing with complex health care issues.

    “These nurses are highly experienced and are not only helping their patients with navigating the system, but also educating them about self-managing their conditions and improving their way of life,” Mr Harper said.

    Member for Townsville Scott Stewart praised the nurse navigators for their compassion and hard work.

    “Patients are getting end-to-end care with a nurse navigator there at every step; asking questions the patient might not know to ask and helping them to better understand their conditions,” Mr Stewart said.



    Media contact

    Emma McBryde 0447 155 332