Royal District Nursing Service (Victoria)

Royal District Nursing Service (Victoria)

Infobox Company
company_name = Royal District Nursing Service
company_type = Charity
company_slogan = "Bringing healthcare to you"
foundation = 1885
location_city = Melbourne
location_state = Victoria
location_country = Australia
industry = Nursing/Healthcare
parent =
subsid =
homepage =

Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) is a charity in Australia which provides home nursing care to people throughout the Melbourne Metropolitan and Mornington Peninsula regions. Founded in 1885, the organisation (formerly known as Melbourne District Nursing Society) began with a single nurse who trekked on foot to provide people with nursing care in the home.cite web|url=|title=RDNS: What we do|accessdate=2008-01-11]


RDNS’ official vision statement is "To be the provider of choice for home and community nursing and healthcare services."cite web|url=|title=RDNS: Customer Service Commitment|accessdate=2008-01-11]

Organisational structure

Operating from 20 centres throughout Melbourne, RDNS is currently the largest and oldest provider of home nursing services in Australia covering the areas of:

* Altona, Berwick, Box Hill, Camberwell, Caulfield, Diamond Valley, Essendon, Frankston, Hartwell, Heidelberg, Kew, Knox, Lilydale, Moreland, Moorabbin, Rosebud, Springvale, Sunshine
* Yarra. [RDNS Annual Report 2007, p. 35.]

The RDNS organisation comprises a Board of Directors, a Chief Executive Officer and other department functions including:

* Client Services
* Information Services
* Assets Management
* Marketing & Planning
* Human Resources
* Helen Macpherson Smith Institute of Community Health.

Fast facts

Over 1,250 staff work at RDNS, of which 1,000 are district nurses. RDNS nurses make over 1.5 million client visits, deliver over 550,000 hours of direct care and travel over 8.2 million kilometres to provide home based nursing care to more than 30,000 clients each year. [RDNS Annual Report 2007, pp. 4&5]

The organisation also aims to help Melbourne's homeless via its Homeless Person's Program. The program provides "...holistic healthcare to people experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless," [RDNS Annual Report 2006, p. 5.] and also provides a private nursing service through RALLY Healthcare. [, Retrieved 7 January, 2008.]

As a result of the mobile nature of RDNS’ business, the number of clients and the geographical spread of its workforce, RDNS nurses use mobile computers that serve them as a vital communications tool. The devices use intuitive interfaces, wireless connectivity, applications that integrate with nurses’ work priorities and the ability to access and transfer real-time data. The mobile computers have significantly reduce the need for paper-based administration, enabling RDNS nurses to spend more time on nursing practice. [RDNS Annual Report 2007, p. 16. ]


The Melbourne District Nursing Society began in 1885 with a single nurse visiting the homes of the sick and poor to provide compassionate nursing care. With no other nursing service of its kind, support for the newfound form of healthcare grew. As a result, by 1892, more staff were employed to cope with demands and the organisation implemented its own midwifery service.cite web|url=|title=RDNS: How we began|accessdate=2008-01-10]

By 1906, the organisation had extended its healthcare service to the outer suburbs of Melbourne and employed the use of bicycles to efficiently travel around the city. This form of transportation enabled district nurses to reach more clients, more quickly over a wider geographical area.

The Great War saw the onset of 1919 influenza epidemic and placed increasing pressure on the organisation to service more and more clientele. To expedite the amount of clients treated, the organisation invested in its first motor car, which would later become an integral identifier of the modern-day RDNS brand.

Following the opening of an aftercare hospital in 1926, the organisation extended its care to mothers and infants by opening Melbourne's first "Well baby clinic", which later became a motivating factor in the development of Victoria's first family planning clinic.

Like the Great War, World War II increased the demand for services and the organisation's type of clientele soon became anyone who had a genuine nursing need regardless of age, condition or circumstance. With the expanded need for services, the organisation decentralised its business by opening its first suburban centre in Camberwell. [RDNS Annual Report 2005, p. 8.]

In the 1980s, RDNS began to provide post-acute care treatments for HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis and other chronic treatments, care which had previously been confined to hospitals but could now be now be administered in the home.

Demand for RDNS’ serviced continued to grow throughout the 1990s and beyond. The year of 2007 had seen the largest number of home nursing visits ever provided since the organisation began in 1885. Reasons for this include shorter hospital patient stays, increased day surgery procedures, better technology, an ageing population and a preference by people to receive nursing care at home. To cope with this demand, RDNS operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. [RDNS Annual Report 2007.]

ervice today

RDNS provides a 24 hour home nursing and healthcare service to the people of Greater Melbourne. The organisation aims to improve the health conditions of clients with tailored nursing care, whilst enabling them to remain in the comfort and privacy of their own home. RDNS provides the following nursing and healthcare services:cite web|url=|title=RDNS: Services|accessdate=2008-01-11]

* Aged Care
* Cystic fibrosis
* Diabetes
* Haemophilia management
* Continence management
* Stomal therapy
* Wound management
* Palliative care

In 1998, RDNS launched its own private wing of service called RALLY Healthcare. RALLY Healthcare provide nursing care from any location, whether it be an aged care facility, a workplace or even a school. It was devised as a way of responding to the vastly changing heathcare needs of today's Melbourne Community. [RALLY Heatlhcare - Your Nursing Care is our priority, service brochure, date unknown,]

Customer Service Centre

In March 2008, RDNS officially opened its Customer Service Centre in Hartwell, Melbourne. The premise behind the Customer Service Centre, was to ensure that anyone who contacts RDNS will every time receive a consistent response from professional staff who will determine their specific need and transfer their enquiry to an appropriate RDNS centre. [RDNS Chief Executive Officer Opening Address - March 2008, retrieved 29, July 2008.]

Since its trial in 2005, the Customer Service Centre has grown to approximately 80 staff, has its own dedicated 1300 telephone numbers for clients and refers, takes between 600-800 calls per day and processes approximately 3000 referrals per month. [RDNS Chief Executive Officer Opening Address - March 2008, retrieved 29, July 2008.]

Homeless Persons Program

RDNS’ Homeless Persons Program (HPP) aims to provides holistic healthcare to Melbourne's homeless community. Staff who work in this program are specialised in working with homeless and marginalised people. Primarily, RDNS nurses who work with the homeless community help these groups by:

* Being a point of contact at agencies visited by people experience homelessness
* Visiting rooming houses, crisis accommodation, parks and city streets
* Providing, executing and conducting: health and social assessments, professional nursing care, counselling support, first aid, medication management, follow up meetings
* Maintaining health and prevent illness to individuals experiencing homelessness
* Educating health professionals and community groups about homelessness
* Facilitating collaborative programs between homeless people and other health services. [, Retrieved 7 March 2008.]

HPP's annual "Where the Heart is" community festival celebrates the skills and attributes of the homeless and marginalised people in the Melbourne community. Cairns, Lyndal, 24 April 2006, Gardens home for a day, Melbourne Leader, p. 10.] The festival is run by volunteers and includes a free lunch, live music, arts, youth activities and a grooming service for attendees.

Cultural Diversity

RDNS upholds a commitment to cultural diversity. The organisation's client base covers 148 different countries and speaks as many as 25 different languages. Gatehouse, Di, (2006), Overcoming the language barriers, The Age, pg. unknown,]

To meet the communication and healthcare needs of such a diverse group, RDNS has 25 multicultural resource staff in operation. The staff, who mostly consist of multidisciplinary nurses, uphold RDNS’ commitment to meet its culturally diverse market by developing 19 workplace language manuals and kits, as well as developing client consent forms in other languages.

Mobile Computing

In 1994, RDNS commenced its Strategic Information Systems Plan (SISP). The mobile, real-time computerised communications system has enabled RDNS nurses to communicate more effectively with their respective centres and the RDNS organisation by improving data integrity, information storage and record keeping efficiency. The Mobile Computer Project has also reduced documentation preparation thereby increasing and improving the care provided to thousands of people each year. [ RDNS Fact Sheet - Mobile Computer Project] , June 2006, Retrieved 7 March 2008.]

RDNS has received position recognition for its Mobile Computer Project. In 2003, the Celebrating Melbourne Awards awarded RDNS Digital Innovation recognition and in 2007, RDNS becaome a State Category Winner for Information Technology for its "Mobile Computer Device Refresh Programme" project at the AIPM Victorian Chapter Awards. [ [ Australian Institute of Project Management] , Retrieved 17 March 2008.]

ee also

*Royal District Nursing Service (South Australia)


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