A social media programme offering kindness to people dealing with addiction is among the initiatives Australia’s Eastern Health has introduced after attending APAC Forum 2016.
Jane Evans, director quality planning and innovation at Eastern Health, a seven-site Melbourne health organisation employing 9000 staff, says 27 delegates were sent to APAC Forum 2016 in Sydney. They ranged from senior executive leaders to staff juniors.
As a direct result of attending the forum, the online and social media officer from Alcohol and Drug Services developed a social media initiative, Communicating Addiction with Kindness, in which messages of support and kindness are sent out to people who have engaged in drug and alcohol services in the past. A number of Eastern Health’s addiction services users are homeless people who have no contact with people throughout the day but have, among their few possessions, a mobile phone, Jane says, adding she’s delighted by such an innovative response to the forum.
“This is a relatively junior staff member who has been given an opportunity to go to a conference like that and permission to go away to build something she’s passionate about.”
Other projects developed as a result of attendance at the forum, (in particular the sessions run by Tim Keogh, of April Strategy LLP and Mary Freer, chief executive Change Day Australia) include: Good Vibes, an initiative delivered to the emergency department of Fox Hospital in which staff are recognised weekly for good patient care; the instigation of a six-minute mindfulness meditation for staff at a dialysis centre; and “kindness cards” in which people from the mental health community recognise their peers with cards which say “My day was made better by your simple act of kindness.”
These are just highlights and Jane says at least 20 more initiatives have been developed as a result of attending APAC Forum 2016.
The strength of the three-day event is the breadth of expert speakers convening in Australia or New Zealand, she says. She adds there is great benefit to sending a big delegation of staff at various levels to the event.
“You don’t have to be a senior manager in the organisation to have this opportunity. You just have to have a passion to do something different.”
Having a big group also encourages momentum for change and a variety of different perspectives, she says.
“It’s when you start sending other people; they bring such a different lens.”
APAC Forum is an annual healthcare improvement event organised by Ko Awatea.
This year APAC Forum will be held in Australia’s Gold Coast. In previous years APAC Forum has attracted 1500 delegates from some 30 countries.