Nurse Navigators appointed to help Queensland children access the best care

11 March 2016

Families of children with complex health conditions now have some extra helping hands to manage their care following the appointment of four nurse navigators at Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Three of the nurse navigators are supporting families in the areas of total parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding), home ventilation (children dependent on respiratory support), and General Paediatrics and Transition (supporting patients and their families whose care is transferring to adult services or alternate health service providers within the community).

A fourth nurse navigator is dedicated to helping families from rural and remote areas of Queensland access health and support services in Brisbane.

Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan said the new service would make a real difference to families across the state.

“The nurse navigator program is about making a child’s healthcare journey as easy and stress-free as possible, by ensuring mums, dads and carers can access the care and support they need, and can keep their focus where it belongs – caring for their child.”

“Our new remote and rural nurse navigator, in particular, will help the many mums and dads from right across Queensland, whose children need treatment in Brisbane,” Ms Dougan said.

“It’s one thing to be worried because your son or daughter is sick; but it’s another thing entirely if that’s happening and you are away from home.

A further six nurse navigators will be appointed at the Queensland Children’s Hospital by December 2017.

Ms Dougan said nurse navigators will be assigned to eligible children and their families to:

  • Be a central point of contact for families and other healthcare providers, throughout a child’s healthcare journey.
  • Build effective communication linkages between various healthcare providers.
  • Coordinate appointments, medication supply and ordering of tests.
  • Assist with travel arrangements and access to any available travel assistance
  • Educate and help families to ensure they understand their child’s condition and enable them to manage their healthcare journey.

Ms Dougan said the all of the new specialist nurses would work with families and hospital doctors to identify and monitor the healthcare requirements of children with high needs, develop tailored care plans and facilitate timely access to appropriate services.

“Their focus will be on delivering co-ordinated and patient-centred care, including building partnerships across primary, secondary and tertiary care providers so families get the most appropriate care when and where they need it,” she said.

“This means, whenever possible, a child and family will receive more of their care and support closer to home, and this will help families to avoid the costs and inconvenience of long-distance travel.

“But when a family does come to Brisbane for treatment at Queensland Children’s Hospital, we want to give them the most help we can.”

CHQ’s new nurse navigators are part of a Queensland-wide initiative to be rolled out under a four-year $105 million project funded by the Queensland Government.

Ms Dougan said the nurse navigator positions would complement CHQ’s existing Connected Care Program, which currently supports the provision of streamlined care for more than 500 children with chronic and complex medical conditions and their families.

“Nurse navigators will expand our capacity to help families of children with high and complex needs to move seamlessly through the health system, linking them with the right health professionals at the right time and in the right place, and ensuring they receive care that is tailored to their needs.”

Parents/carers who would like more information about the Nurse Navigator program can contact 3068 2273.