Nurse navigator support for Queensland families guaranteed until 2023

6 June 2019 

Families of children with complex health conditions can be assured of continued support in accessing the best possible care for their child thanks to the Queensland Government’s commitment of $398 million to deliver the statewide Nurse Navigator Program until 2023.

Children’s Health Queensland’s nurse navigators provide specialist and coordinated care for children and young people living with complex health needs by working closely with patients and clinical staff to monitor healthcare requirements, develop tailored care plans, and enable timely access to appropriate services.

Four nurse navigators started at Children’s Health Queensland in 2016 and since then, the team has grown to 15 nurse navigators working in the areas of parenteral nutrition, home ventilation, general paediatrics, autism, care transition (to adult or alternate health services), rural and remote, out-of-home care, endocrinology, eating disorders, gender clinic, trauma, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services.

Welcoming the Queensland Government’s funding, Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan said the investment would ensure children with high and complex needs continued to receive tailored care.

“Our nurse navigators aim to make a child’s healthcare journey as easy and stress-free as possible by ensuring mums, dads and carers can access the services and support they require and can keep their focus where it belongs – caring for their child,” Ms Dougan said.

“The program is focused on delivering coordinated and patient-centred care, including building partnerships across primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare providers to ensure they are seen by the right person, at the right time and in the right place.

“This means, whenever possible, a child will receive more of their treatment and support closer to home.”

Children’s Health Queensland’s 15-strong team of nurse navigators currently care for more than 430 children and young people from across the state.

John Tracey, nurse navigator for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is one of the newest appointments to the Children’s Health Queensland team and is the only nurse navigator for ASD in the state.

John said the purpose of his role was to liaise with patients, families and carers at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and in the community to offer support for as long as needed.

“My job can range from linking families to services in their local area and explaining the workings of the health system, to advocating for the review and modification of treatment for the benefit of all involved in a child or young person’s care,” John said.

John said the recent introduction of telehealth technology for clinical consultations had been a real game changer for children and young people.

“Many people with autism favour routine and coming to the unfamiliar and busy environment of the hospital can cause anxiety and sometimes trigger behavioural issues,” John said.

“Since March this year, we have been using telehealth video conferencing to see some children and are seeing real benefits.

“Offering children and their families the opportunity to see their hospital-based clinician via their smart phone or home computer allows them to have a face-to-face consultation from a place that suits them and their routine, whether it is at home, school or in their GP’s office.

“Ultimately, the best part of my role is helping children, parents and carers so they feel confident enough to navigate their child’s healthcare needs on their own.”

Children’s Health Queensland’s 15 nurse navigators form part of the Queensland Government’s investment to fund 400 nurse navigators across the state for a total investment of $398 million from July 2015 to June 2023.


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