Neurological Council of Western Australia

Nursing Reference Center™ Plus helps nurses in Western Australia transform neurological home care

At a Glance

Neurological Council of Western Australia
Perth, Australia

Institution Type:   Health Care
Related Products:   Point-of-Care Tools


Based in Perth, Australia, but covering the wide expanse of the Western Australia state, the Neurological Council of Western Australia (NCWA) is a community healthcare organization composed of 22 nurses providing care, support and education to patients living with neurological conditions or symptoms. Their services enable patients to better understand and more effectively manage their conditions, reducing hospital admissions and keeping care closer to home.

In 2016 the NCWA began subscribing to EBSCO Health’s Nursing Reference Center Plus, an evidence-based point-of-care resource designed by nurses for nurses. Nursing Reference Center Plus supplies users with fast and easy access to the latest clinical evidence on diseases and conditions, procedures and medications as well as valuable skill development content, continuing education modules and patient education materials.

We hear from our service coordinators who support the nurse team that Nursing Reference Center Plus is phenomenally helpful. They take phone calls from patients and coordinate referrals, and Nursing Reference Center Plus is a really quick way for them interpret the clinical language and terminology to more effectively help patients.

Kathy McCoy
Executive Director
Neurological Council of Western Australia


The Neurological Council of Western Australia operates on a system of shared governance, a professional practice model that promotes nursing empowerment and shared decision making by making staff nurses accountable for decisions that impact policies, procedures, and processes at the point of care. For shared governance to be effective, nurses must make policies, procedure and process decisions based on the most current evidence.

Additionally, a large portion of the work the NCWA does is related to patient education and counseling. For patients to be able to manage their condition at home and prevent hospitalization they must fully understand their condition. According to Kathy McCoy, Executive Director of the Neurology Council of Western Australia, “The truth of the matter is most of neurology doesn't need to be in the hospital. It can be managed really well in the community, and that's where our nurses are doing great work.”

McCoy and the nurses of the NCWA set out to find an information resource that checked the boxes for all their must-haves: evidence-based content to support policy and procedure creation, robust neurology content and strong patient education resources. They quickly found that Nursing Reference Center Plus offered everything they were looking for and more. Although the NCWA team evaluated other products, McCoy stated, “many of them offered only research articles which were not relatable to patients and lacked strong neurology content if any was available at all.”


Through the NCWA’s shared governance process, nurses made the collective decision to purchase a Nursing Reference Center Plus subscription. To familiarize nurses with the full capabilities of the product, the NCWA and EBSCO Health worked together to provide formal training. Since implementing Nursing Reference Center Plus, the NCWA has held annual refresher trainings and solicited feedback from staff to ensure the resource is meeting their needs.

“With any new initiative or product, we take formal feedback from staff on a regular basis via our ‘Tell Us What You Think’ forum,” said McCoy. “Our goal is to find out [whether] it is meeting the need, is easy to use, or if there anything else they’d like it to do or support. The answer from staff has been a resounding, “Yes!”


Since integrating Nursing Reference Center Plus into their everyday workflow, nurses at the NCWA have seen great gains.

According to McCoy, one of the most utilized components of Nursing Reference Center Plus is the evidence-based patient education handouts. “Clients often come home from the hospital with a new diagnosis, and though they were counseled on their condition while in the hospital, they really struggle with fully understanding their condition and what is needed to manage that condition at home,” she explained. NCWA staffers can access any of the more than 8,000 patient education handouts in Nursing Reference Center Plus, which are designed to be easy for patients to understand and digest, to assist with a client visit or teleconference.

One NCWA nurse shared, “My client mentioned during a conversation that there had been some changes with her rare neurological condition, CADASIL. I offered a home visit, which she welcomed, and in preparation for the visit, I sourced patient handouts from Nursing Reference Center Plus on her condition. I was able to personalize them adding the client’s name, contact details of the attending nurse, and custom notes specific to the client. The client was very pleased with the information provided. She liked the easy-to-read format and the fact that the materials were personalized.”

In addition to Nursing Reference Center Plus’s patient education materials, nurses at the NCWA frequently draw from the evidence-based content related to disease, conditions and medication in the form of evidence-based care sheets and quick lessons. These documents provide users with the latest clinical evidence on a topic in an easily digestible format that maps to the nursing workflow. The nurses at the NCWA find this content valuable in a variety of different ways.

Some use the tool to keep up with any changes in evidence on prevalent conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, dementia and stroke. “I often check for new information on our more common neurological diagnosis with Nursing Reference Center Plus,” stated one NCWA nurse. “Utilizing these resources ensures I am providing informed, educated, peer reviewed, current support to our clients.”

Nursing Reference Center Plus also comes in handy when nurses find themselves presented with a rare condition. An NCWA staffer shared, “I find [Nursing Reference Center Plus] invaluable when I come across clients with a rare neurological condition, as I can not only update my own knowledge, but it is a fantastic resource for providing information to clients about their condition.”

Even the NCWA’s non-clinical staff find Nursing Reference Center Plus to be an indispensable resource. “We hear from our service coordinators who support the nurse team that Nursing Reference Center Plus is phenomenally helpful,” said McCoy. “They take phone calls from patients and coordinate referrals, and Nursing Reference Center Plus is a really quick way for them interpret the clinical language and terminology to more effectively help patients.”

As part of the shared governance process, NCWA needs assurance that the information they are using to support their policy and procedure creation is “contemporary and based on the best available evidence,” said McCoy. With Nursing Reference Center Plus’s strict evidence-based methodology, the NCWA can feel confident that the information they are using to write their policies and procedures reflects the best available evidence at all times.

Though the NCWA is currently a small organization, it has made a large impact on the lives of patients living with neurological conditions in Western Australia, and the health department is taking notice.

“The health department is really pleased with us, and we see a lot of investments in the future of our service,” McCoy said. “Part of the success is the fact that we've been able to show evidence of how we provide real care, and Nursing Reference Center Plus has been a critical component of that.”

Interested in learning more about Nursing Reference Center Plus?