Amanda Klahr

Bachelor of Nursing 1999
Amanda Klahr wins the 2011 HESTA Innovation in Nursing Award for her work in the Geriatric Flying Squad
Amanda Klahr

Amanda completed her Bachelor of Nursing in 1999, is a mother of four and is currently enrolled in the Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) course at Sydney Nursing School – her fourth nursing degree. Yet she still finds time for her passion, aged care.

Amanda manages the Geriatric Flying Squad which was started at the War Memorial Hospital in NSW and dedicates care to elders who prefer to stay at home but who may require quick-response sub-acute care. Clients are referred to the service by a GP, a carer, a neighbor or a friend. "The emergency room is not always the best place for elderly patients, we want to help them stay in their home yet still receive the best of care," says Amanda.

The squad team is made up of a doctor that specialises in geriatric care, a social worker, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, a clinical psychologist and a dietician. The nurses triage the patients by assessing their medical records and talking to family and carers, and are usually at their house within 2–3 days, saving the elderly patient a trip to the hospital.

"Working with elderly patients is extremely rewarding," says Amanda. "There isn't enough of a push to get nurses into the field, and I don’t think nurses are aware of the potential scope of work available in this kind of specialisation. It's not just about aged care facilities or acute care; it's about the community and helping improve the quality of life for elderly patients."

The Geriatric Flying Squad won a $10,000 grant to develop its innovative service.