Keeping the focus on emergency department activity levels

Categories: General News, Public Sector News

As elevated demand, ramping and bed delays continue at many major hospitals, ANMF (SA Branch) officers are continuing to engage with Worksite Representatives and heads of the relevant Local Health Networks to identify further measures to alleviate overcrowding.

The extreme heat has not helped in relation to number of patient presentations since our last stocktake on the issues, but here is the update:

Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH)
The RAH routinely has anywhere up to 40 patients waiting for a bed most mornings and mental health patients staying in the ED longer than 24 hours now a daily occurrence.

RAH nurses have changed their practice in relation to external triaging, which has provided some relief in leaving two triage nurses inside the department able to support each other.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) has advised a ‘Stop Ramping Workshop’ will be held on 14 February, which will be attended by a Worksite Representative from TQEH Emergency Department.

ANMF (SA Branch) has sought a meeting with CALHN management on behalf of members to receive a progress update on the changes and decisions needed to drive improvements in overcrowding and patient flow out of the Emergency Department.

The ANMF (SA Branch) met with the Minister for Health and Wellbeing last week when it was advised SA Health will be conducting a roundtable meeting on the 12 February to address ‘patient through-put’. ANMF (SA Branch) is pushing to obtain a seat at this meeting.

Lyell McEwin Hospital (LMH)
ANMF (SA Branch) officers continue to meet with Emergency Department (ED) members, who reporting continuingly high numbers in the department.

Mental Health presentations have increased with around 10 people waiting in the ED every day.

Patients are still waiting long periods for treatment at the hospital, which is still attracting numerous presentations from non-emergency patients—reducing these non-acute presentations is a key future focus for LMH management.

The ANMF (SA Branch) officers continue to meet regularly with the Divisional Director and Worksite Representatives to work through the issues and identify ways of streamlining patient flow through the department.

Modbury Hospital (MH)
The ANMF (SA Branch) officers conducted a recent walk-through of Modbury Hospital to engage with members and obtain a first-hand account of patient flow into and out of the emergency department. Members are reporting waiting times for mental health patients have reduced, although periods of high demand are still being experienced.

ANMF (SA Branch) officers continue to engage with members and facilitate monthly meetings with Worksite Representatives to facilitate the prompt raising and addressing of issues and concerns directly with management.

Flinders Medical Centre (FMC)
Flinders Medical Centre is still seeing high numbers in the ED and is regularly in Code White status as patient flow into the wards remains unchanged.

The hospital is currently trialling an initiative whereby a cohort of Enrolled Nurses are helping to manage bed flow out of the emergency department and into inpatient units. ANMF (SA Branch) officers have met with the Enrolled Nurses on the initiative and are awaiting member feedback on the success of this pilot.

Noarlunga Hospital (NH)
NH members continue to see a high number of presentations, spiking on occasions to take the emergency department to Code White as the ANMF (SA Branch) continues to work with members as issues arise.

ANMF (SA Branch) officers met with hospital management late last month to discuss a model of care for the establishment of a 12-bed Short Stay Medical Unit (SSMU) in the Whittaker/Collins footprint. Earmarked for opening in the next couple of months, the SSMU is anticipated to held reduce overcrowding at both Flinders Medical Centre and Noarlunga Hospital. Inclusion criteria for the SSMU will be older persons whose expected length of stay is less than 72 hours.

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