Ms Erin Hartwell is a 28-year-old Senior Clinical Governance Officer with St Vincent’s Care Services (SVCS) and has held this position for 12 months. Prior to this role, Ms Hartwell worked for 18 months as a Senior Clinical Manager and Acting Facility Manager with SVCS in Victoria. She is an emerging leader passionate about empowering others and has taken on the challenge of rethinking, redesigning, and reimaging aged care in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Ms Hartwell’s role as the guardian and team leader of SVCS’s COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan has been crucial in providing critical expertise, education, and guidance to every one of SVCS’s 23 residential aged care facilities located in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. Erin has reviewed every policy change during the pandemic and ensured SVCS Facility Managers and other key staff have the right information they need to keep their residents safe. She has also developed SVCS’s Infection Prevention Control (IPC) forum, which brings together 30-40 dedicated IPC leaders working across SVCS’s 23 aged care facilities, to keep them up to date with the latest COVID-19 health directives as well as updated infection control procedures.
Ms Hartwell has evaluated, re-interpreted, and redesigned practices across aged care, cleaning, and laundry services to minimise the risk of cross-contamination during COVID-19 outbreaks. She has also teamed up with Allied Health professionals to identify exercise programs that staff could conduct to keep residents mobile during COVID-19 lockdowns. Other initiatives have included detailed COVID-19 outbreak audits, which have enabled her to further empower facility staff using the lessons learned to continually improve clinical practice.
Ms Hartwell’s innovative work in the infection control space has made a difference in decreasing the length of time SVCS homes are in lockdown, which is important for residents, staff, and family well-being. Her important leadership has been demonstrated through her assistance to SVCS aged care homes throughout the last 12 months of the pandemic and also within the wider outbreak meetings held with the Public Health and Commonwealth Departments – earning both the trust and confidence of SVCS staff – enabling her to drill down to identify opportunities to tighten facility practices and improve care.
Erin Hartwell’s untiring dedication, professionalism, and compassion have made her an emerging leader in the aged care industry. She champions preventative healthcare at every opportunity and has been described as a ‘driven, passionate, and natural educator’ in the testimonials provided in support of the award submission. Her innovative work during the COVID-19 pandemic has made a difference in decreasing the length of time SVCS homes are in lockdown, which coupled with clinical acumen has improved the quality of life for many residents.
Erin Hartwell is a deserving winner of the 2022 Future of Ageing Award for Emerging Leader.
Entries for the 2023 Future of Ageing Awards open May 1, 2023 – For further information.
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