The Western NSW Local Health District's 2019 Nurse of the Year is developing a mobile emergency department for elderly residents of aged care facilities and hopes to have it up and running in about two years.
Dubbo's Melissa Hanson and the health district want to save residents from "unwanted and avoidable" visits to the emergency department.
"For example, I am hoping I will be able to start infusions for women and men who have cellulitis," she said after receiving the award at a health district leadership forum in Dubbo on Thursday.
"Or if they were to fall and perhaps have a fracture..we could take them in our little transport van for an X-ray and then take them straight back to the nursing home.
"Then we liaise with consultants outside instead of them sitting in an emergency department bed waiting."
Mrs Hanson said a visit to the emergency department was an upheaval for an elderly resident in aged care.
"The nursing home is their home and at the end of their life that's where they are comfortable," she said. "That's where they feel safe."
Ms Hanson is collaborating with Dubbo Hospital's Emergency Department and the health district's Patient Flow Transport Unit, where she works part-time.
The project is officially called the Residential Aged Care Emergency Department Equivalent Mobile Service into local Residential Aged Care Facilities.
Mrs Hanson is set to visit New York's Mount Sinai Hospital on a scholarship to gain greater knowledge of the model of care which is being applied in "quite a few places" in Australia.
"Mount Sinai has the inaugural model of care and they do it so well," Mrs Hanson said.
The mobile emergency department for residents of aged care facilities will be a first for the the health district.
"I want to be able to show everyone in Australia that the Western NSW Local Health District is just amazing and can do the care just as well as everyone else," Mrs Hanson said.