New Service and Beds Boost to Ease Pressure on Emergency Departments

The Marshall Liberal Government has moved to provide additional health services and more beds, while also easing pressure on the state’s emergency departments.

A new service, run by the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, will help ensure South Australians with complex needs will be able to avoid unnecessary visits to the emergency department.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the CALHN Hospital Avoidance and Supported Discharge Service, run in partnership with the SA Ambulance Service, will help take pressure off the State’s acute health system and deliver more care options for patients.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to improving healthcare for all South Australians and thanks to this new service, we will be able to offer an alternative approach to care for vulnerable members of our community,” Minister Wade said.

“This is the first service of its type in South Australia and will provide rapid multidisciplinary care to people who are unable to have their needs met in mainstream services including those with restricted mobility, bariatric conditions and residents of aged care facilities, as well as people experiencing homelessness.

“By diverting a patient away from hospital towards a more appropriate care option, this new service will help reduce demand on our emergency departments which will benefit patients and our hospitals.”

The service operates three rapid assessment bays, with additional procedure and treatment rooms. It is supported by speciality face-to-face and telehealth consultations as well as access to ultrasound, basic X-rays and point of care testing. At present it can see up to 20 patients per day.

The service will complement the Marshall Liberal Government’s Mental Health Co-Responder team (MH CORE).

The MH CORE program partners specialist CALHN mental health staff and with SA Ambulance paramedics diverts mental health patients away from emergency departments to a more appropriate community care service.

CALHN has also acted swiftly to respond to a recent surge of mental health presentations during COVID-19 by bringing online an extra four mental health beds at the RAH.

CALHN Divisional Director of Integrated Care, Lisa Bartholomaeus, said the Hospital Avoidance and Supported Discharge Service, provides a new multidisciplinary option for patients whose care needs cannot be rapidly accommodated by GPs, Priority Care Centres (PCCs) or by SAAS paramedics in the patient’s home.

“We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care for our consumers with early consumer feedback supporting development of the service,” Ms Bartholomaeus said.

“Without this service, these patients would inevitably be transported to a hospital emergency department, which isn’t always the best option.”

SAAS Chief Executive Officer, David Place, said the Sefton Park care centre will provide better support to patients, preventing unnecessary hospital presentations when suitable.

“We are proud to be partnering with CALHN to provide this new model of care for patients with complex needs,” Mr Place said.

“For many of these patients, a hospital emergency department is often not the most appropriate option, so this service will ensure that we can direct patients to receive the right care in the right place.”

The service is open seven days a week including public holidays, Monday to Friday from 8:30am – 8pm and on weekends from 11am – 5pm.

Patients are either referred or taken there by SAAS.

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