The RPAH Diabetes Centre was established in 1980 and was the first of its kind in Australia. We not only provide health professionals with training in diabetes but add to this by working with regional and global colleagues to develop systems that build interdisciplinary teams and integrated interdisciplinary diabetes centres focussed on patient education, clinical care and research. The RPAH Diabetes Centre pioneered the concept of nurse-led clinics in diabetes.
"In an Australia-wide audit of diabetes services, the RPAH Diabetes Centre was demonstrated to deliver a model of superior diabetes care (Cheung et al, Diabetes Medicine 2008)."
Goals of the RPAH Diabetes Centre
Our goals are to:
- promote the philosophy of an integrated interdisciplinary team approach
- provide best practice evidence-based clinical care
- develop, implement and evaluate innovative and cost effective ambulatory care services
- conduct high quality clinical and educational research
- provide up to date and innovative education to health professionals locally, nationally and internationally
- maintain a comprehensive database to support all activities of the Centre
- promote a structured program of staff career development
- promote a two way seamless flow of healthcare service provision across primary and tertiary care
Our Centre is staffed by a dedicated and highly trained interdisciplinary team of 30 individuals consisting of endocrinologists, specialised nursing staff, dietitian, podiatrists and administrative staff, all of whom are involved in providing clinical care and research.
Clinical Service Delivery
Our philosophy of using a interdisciplinary team approach ensures that clinical care and patient–focussed education are integrated into each service. Services include:
- initiation of insulin therapy and stabilisation of glycaemic control
- insulin pump therapy and ongoing management
- management of diabetes in pregnancy
- intensive management of foot ulceration and other diabetic foot diseases
- assessment and management of complications.
Service delivery has been designed to effectively use available human resources and the majority of staff are multi-skilled, enabling crossing of usual health professional boundaries. While our medical director is ultimately responsible for the care of the patients, we promote the philosophy of an integrated team approach in which each diabetes team member has unique and highly specialised skills and respects the skills and talents of others. We have been world leaders in promoting the concept of nursing staff needing an increased clinical role. This means that in our model, nurses do much of the routine clinical work allowing the medical staff more time to concentrate on complex medical cases. This is a cost-effective and efficient use of resources.
Health Professional Education
The Centre offers an extensive training program for physicians, nursing and allied health professionals from Australia and overseas. In all programs, training is conducted within the Diabetes Centre. Thus, theoretical training is integrated with practical ‘hands on’ experience. Course participants are also fully involved in the daily clinical activities of the Centre. The main programs are:
1. A 3 day ‘Overview of Diabetes Care’, is offered to Primary Care Nurses. This course is accredited by the Australian Practice Nurse Association.
2. A two week advanced clinical management program offered to those who are working the field of diabetes and want an intensive clinical update.
3. A Webinar program is offered to health professionals who have more involvement in diabetes care such as general practitioners, diabetes educators, community nurses, dietitians and podiatrists.
4. An individualised advanced clinical management program for health professionals who are pursuing a career in diabetes. To date, this program has attracted numerous overseas physicians, nurses and allied health professionals from countries including China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Tonga, Turkey, Iran, Singapore, Vietnam, South America, USA, Saudi Arabia and UK wishing to train for periods of several weeks to 12 months. After undergoing a core component, the trainees select options from the range of clinical services, research activities or data management relevant to their own environment or that can be adapted to their work practice. On returning to their own countries, many of these trainees have established services adapted to their own health care system.
5. Medical delegations from overseas countries. RPAH is the largest teaching hospital in the southern hemisphere and is part of the University of Sydney campus. Our IDF Centre offers current and relevant lecture and discussion programs on systems of care for diabetes, clinical and laboratory research conducted by RPAH staff.
Our laboratory research, through our affiliation with the University of Sydney, into diabetes and its complications dovetails with the clinical research being undertaken in the Diabetes Centre.