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Leadership and innovation rewarded

26 Apr 2022


Nepean Hospital Senior Cardiorespiratory & ICU Physiotherapist, Anwar Hassan’s outstanding leadership and innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic has earnt him state-wide recognition at the NSW Health Excellence in Allied Health Awards. Anwar is a finalist for Allied Health Professional of the Year at the Awards, set to be announced on Thursday.

An exceptional clinician, researcher and leader, Anwar’s work has already been recognised by the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the Australian Physiotherapy Association. His research has also been published in international scientific journals.

“Physiotherapists play a very important role in an intensive care unit and we provide a range of therapies for patients,” Anwar says.

“With COVID-19, we are often looking after patients who are mechanically ventilated. Often these patients are at risk of developing chest complications such as pneumonia, so using manual techniques and positioning techniques, we make sure their lungs are clear and their airways are clear and that helps to speed up their recovery.”

During the pandemic, Anwar trained over 30 physiotherapists in intensive care skills, resulting in a highly trained workforce who could provide safe, evidence-based care for our most critically ill patients.

Recognising unmet needs for both patients and hospital operations as COVID-19 case numbers soared and hospital capacity was challenged, Anwar worked with the Respiratory Team and Allied Health to develop a pathway for early discharge and education that enabled COVID-19 patients to return to their own homes while receiving oxygen therapy.

Anwar also developed a Post-Intensive Care Unit (ICU) COVID clinic, in recognition that some COVID-19 patients required longer term post-discharge multidisciplinary care for which no model of care existed. He is now establishing new roles for allied health in the Post-ICU Clinic.

Patients who have had an extended time in ICU are triaged and their need for ongoing allied health services is assessed, enabling referrals to be made based on each patient’s unique needs. The model is based on best available evidence and promotes a patient centred multidisciplinary approach.

In discussing his nomination Anwar describes it all as feeling a bit unreal.

“I feel honoured. I am thankful to those who recognised my work and nominated me. I feel proud to be a part of such a supportive department where our hard work and effort never goes unnoticed,” says Anwar.

“I have been working as a clinician for 22 years and my passion and interest is growing every year. I work in intensive care where I come across very sick patients every day which can be challenging sometimes. It gives me immense satisfaction if I can make a difference to their clinical condition.”

Anwar is one of five finalists from Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District at the NSW Health Excellence in Allied Health Awards.

Congratulations to all our finalists: Sarah Gibson, Anwar Hassan, Emma Dole, Aaron O’Callaghan and Dr Laura Kirsten.