The Neurological Council's former Executive Director, Adjunct Associate Professor Kathleen (Kathy) McCoy RN, was posthumously inducted onto the Lifetime Achievement Honour Roll at the WA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards Gala on Saturday evening, 25 February.
Professor Tracey Moroney OAM announced the award, which was presented to Kathy’s husband, before family, colleagues from the Neurological Council of WA, and nursing peers.
Kathy’s induction onto the Honour Roll recognises her long-standing innovation, excellence and extraordinary contribution to neurological nursing. Kathy McCoy had a long history of working in neurology and helped shape transitional and community-based neurological nursing care. She nursed at The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom for 18 years, including as the first MS Nurse Specialist and Neurology Nurse Practitioner. Kathy was the Executive Director of the Neurological Council for 11.5 years until her premature retirement in August 2021.
According to the Neurological Council’s co-founder, Ian Passmore OAM, Kathy’s role at The Walton Centre in the 1990s inspired how the Council might operate. Kathy envisaged a community nursing service to support all persons with neurological conditions or symptoms. Her legacy is an inward–outward model of care known as Neurocare, in which nurses provide supported discharge and community-based care for patients.
This nurse-led model of care has been shown to improve patient health outcomes, build patient self-management capacity, enhance patient satisfaction and favourably impact Department of Health costs.
Today the Neurological Council has 17 community neurological nurses caring for more than 1,000 clients. The nurses contribute to multidisciplinary team meetings and outpatient clinics at tertiary and regional hospitals, and deliver Neurocare via home visits, telehealth, telephone, email and at our offices.
Kathy McCoy’s commitment to shifting healthcare service delivery closer to clients’ homes and communities was inspirational. Kathy wanted to improve access to health care and make greater use of innovative health service delivery models for people living with neurological conditions or symptoms.
Kathy helped us to see that nurses provide better value health services—better care at a lower cost.