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Pitch winner to enhance support for CALD families

RPA Newborn Care team to develop in-language parent education videos.

SydneyConnect Video: Our staff innovation challenge The Pitch returns for 2022

RPA’s Newborn Care team is set to create in-language educational videos to better support culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families to care for their babies, after winning the latest round of The Pitch — Sydney Local Health District’s staff innovation challenge.

The team won $30,000 to develop the videos — about interacting, playing and settling a baby; feeding, growth and development milestones; jaundice and phototherapy; and self-care for parents — in five languages, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Nepali and Vietnamese.

“We’ll be able to give families the skills they need so they have a better understanding of their infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and when they take their babies home,” Bonnie Fonti, a Clinical Nurse Specialist at RPA Newborn Care, said.

Every year, about 1000 babies are admitted to RPA Newborn Care, the hospital's specialist neonatal unit equipped to care for babies born prematurely, or full-term babies requiring intensive care.

Ms Fonti estimated more than 450 of them were CALD families — with data indicating more than half of the residents in the District speak a language other than English at home.

But, with group parent education classes on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, and most other digital or written materials in English, the Newborn Care team has had limited resources to support them.  

The videos will be a key component in a family-centred information package and will be developed in partnership with families and the multidisciplinary team at RPA Newborn Care.

“We will be providing equality in education for culturally and linguistically diverse families and we will achieve our vision for providing personalised, individualised care for all our families,” Ms Fonti said.

The judges also awarded prize money for two other projects.

Sonia Sawant a Basic Physician Trainee at RPA won $30,000 for the development of a smartphone app called Heartbeat – a personalised cardiac rehabilitation program delivered on a digital platform.

To be first rolled out at RPA’s Cardiology Department, patients will attend traditional clinic-based cardiac rehabilitation, but will then have the flexibility to switch to remote cardiac rehabilitation supported by weekly phone or video consultations.

And, Endocrinologist Veronica Wong and Diabetes Educator Angelina In’t Zandt from Concord Hospital won $30,000 for the development of an app that aims to improve care for high-risk patients with diabetes.

It will allow patients to record blood glucose, insulin dose, diet and activity to foster improved engagement; set reminders for insulin, glucose monitoring and activity schedules; and deliver tailored health advice.

Since The Pitch began in 2014, there have been more than 200 entries from across more than 50 departments in the District. More than $1.5 million dollars has been provided to help staff bring their innovative ideas to life.

“I love The Pitch because it enables us to invest in the ideas of our staff,” Dr Teresa Anderson, the District’s Chief Executive, said.

Dr Anderson, Board Chair the Hon John Ajaka, the Executive Director of Medical Services, Clinical Governance and Risk Dr Andrew Hallahan and the General Manager of Population Health Renee Moreton formed the judging panel.

The next round of The Pitch is expected to be held in June.