The Health News – 10 August 2015

Overview:

• Staff at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) have taken a novel approach to raising awareness for organ and tissue donation. They have taken part in The Rest Is Silence, a short play based on the real-life discussions held every day by forensic and medical staff about organ and tissue donation.

• The Government says that the new $200 million Women’s and Children’s Hospital to be built in Melbourne’s west will be named after Victoria’s first female premier, Joan Kirner, who died in June, she was a Labor Party stalwart and led the state from 1990-1992.

• Research by the Black Dog Institute shows that Forty per cent of patients admitted to hospital after a suicide attempt do not receive any follow-up mental health treatment and only 10 per cent receive specialist in-patient psychiatric care.

Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th August 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-08/campaign-to-promote-organ-and-tissue-donation/6683096

Live performance in Melbourne has never been quite like this – the stage is a mortuary, the cast are medical professionals.

Staff at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) have taken a novel approach to raising awareness for organ and tissue donation.

They have taken part in The Rest Is Silence, a short play based on the real-life discussions held every day by forensic and medical staff about organ and tissue donation.

One scene involves the case of “Stephen”, a young man who has died in a motorbike accident.

From the mortuary’s observation room, where the audience is placed, nurse Susan Dickie can be heard asking the bereaved mother: “Did Stephen ever speak to you about donation? Did he tell you what he might have wanted?”

The audience can see Ms Dickie conversing with her colleagues, a gurney draped in a blue tarpaulin representing the dead person.

They discuss, in sometimes confronting detail, what organs and tissues might be viable for transplant.

The Institute hosted four performances on Saturday as part of [the]… Donate Life campaign, to raise awareness of tissue donation, something many Australian donors do not understand well.

“Everybody gets hung up on organ donations,” forensic pathologist David Ranson said.

“The reality is we need thousands more tissues than we need organs so it’s really important to be able to offer bone, skin, corneas, heart valves.
“These can really transform people’s lives.

“Someone who has a severe heart valve problem may be unable to exercise, they can’t walk up stairs – replacing that heart valve can be life-transforming.”

Tissue donation needs to take place within 24 hours of a death, meaning donors need to be sure their families are aware of their wishes.
“Tick that tissue box for sure but also talk to your family – make sure your family and friends know that you want to donate,” Associate Professor Ranson said.

The performances took place in a stark and sterile setting but the message was aimed at providing some comfort to grieving families – that the death of one person could mean the opportunity for life for as many as 10 others.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-09/womens-and-childrens-hospital-to-be-named-after-joan-kirner/6683506

The new $200 million Women’s and Children’s Hospital to be built in Melbourne’s west will be named after Victoria’s first female premier, Joan Kirner, the Government says.

Ms Kirner, who died in June, was a Labor Party stalwart and led the state from 1990-1992.

The hospital will specialise in maternity and paediatric services, including more than 200 beds, 20 delivery rooms and 39 special care nursery cots.
Construction is due to start late next year.

Ms Kirner was known for her work promoting women’s rights and improving education.

Premier Daniel Andrews said it was fitting that the new facility in Sunshine would be named in her honour.

“The Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital will deliver vital services to families in Melbourne’s west, a community Joan truly loved,” Mr Andrews said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-08/suicide-attempts-follow-up-inadequate-in-patients-research-says/6683128

Forty per cent of patients admitted to hospital after a suicide attempt do not receive any follow-up mental health treatment and only 10 per cent receive specialist in-patient psychiatric care, new research shows.

Every year, more than 60,000 Australians attempt to take their life and the majority of these people will be taken to a hospital setting.

Research by the Black Dog Institute shows, of the patients who do receive follow-up mental health care following a suicide attempt, more than half receive one 30-minute session.

“The period following discharge from hospital after a suicide attempt represents a very high risk for further suicide attempts,” Professor Helen Christensen, director of the Black Dog Institute, said.

Their research showed the attitude of hospital staff had a powerful impact on patients, with those who received negative treatment significantly less likely to seek help after they were discharged.

“Current privacy laws mean family and carers are often not included in discharge arrangements or follow-up services and research shows that support from family and friends is integral to recovery from mental illness,” Professor Christensen said.

Experts said there was no significant change to suicide rates in the past decade, despite increased investment into prevention programs.
But overseas research revealed suicide was preventable and rates could be reduced with evidence-based strategies and appropriate government investment.

New evidence and technology developed by Black Dog Institute in partnership with Australian National University meant researchers could identify the best areas for suicide interventions.

Mental health experts, patient groups and governments will meet in Canberra …[this] week for the first national suicide prevention summit.

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