Aged care residents are often transferred to Emergency Departments when they require medical attention, even in the case where care could be provided in residence. This places burden on the patients who must be transferred out of their comfort into the hospital, only to be returned after assessment. The burden also falls on ambulance services that transfer the patients to and from the hospital. Finally, the patients unnecessarily occupy beds in the Emergency Department, when their treatment could be managed in their usual residence.
The Senior Early Assessment Team, being trialled in Queensland, uses secure video conference to assess patients from their home and, where possible, create an effective management plan without the patient being transferred. Two thirds of aged care residence who attend the Emergency Department could receive treatment without coming to hospital. In the case that a patient requires hospital treatment, they can be triaged and immediately diverted to the relevant hospital site (Observation Unit or Acute Care). This will be most useful in Emergency Departments that see a high volume of Triage Category 3, 4 and 5 patients come through from aged care residences. A dedicated team is required to make assessments so as not to impact on the workload of staff managing the Emergency Department.
- Reduced waiting time and length of stay for all patients
- Earlier decision making, leading to improved patient outcomes
- Increases patient flow and capacity for doctors to see more patients
- Requires additional facilities and reliable connections to aged care residences
- Difficult to assess some patients over video conference safely
For more information
See the Queensland Government Clinical Excellence Division