Kate is a finalist for Nurse of the Year in the 2020 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards. She works for Southern Cross Care (SA, NT & VIC) Inc in Glenside, SA.
Kate Weger is recognised for her work to deliver better wound prevention and care, improving the lives of older people. In 2018, Kate established the Wound Champions program to increase the knowledge and delivery of best-practice wound care and prevention in Southern Cross Care’s (SCC) 17 residential care facilities – home to nearly 1600 residents.
Kate has created a holistic approach to wound prevention and care at SCC through the program. She has fostered a strong knowledge-sharing culture among staff and has established processes to review, refer and treat wounds efficiently and effectively. Kate has also worked collaboratively to develop an improved system to identify wounds and track patients’ recovery, and has provided on-the-job education, mentoring and support for staff to deliver better care for residents.
The Wound Champions program has reduced wound prevalence and shortened healing times for residents. Between July 2019 and January 2020, overall pressure injury numbers reduced by 42%, with a 37% decrease in the number of pressure injuries acquired at SCC’s residential homes. Residents’ quality of life has improved dramatically, from healing faster to feeling more independent and less anxious, with one resident making a full recovery without the need for amputation. Staff have also reported an improvement in their knowledge and confidence, attributing their success to Kate’s support.
Kate, who has worked in aged care for 15 years, is also a strong advocate for older people’s wellbeing. She established in April 2019 bi-monthly Wound and Healthy Skin Promotion Committee meetings, which develop evidence-based strategies to drive best practice and innovation in wound management and care and coordinated and hosted SCC’s inaugural Wound and Healthy Skin Promotion forum.