26 September 2023

Ambulance reviews its responses to calls

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Ambulance Victoria (AV) is changing the way it responds to calls for help from aged care facilities, launching the first initiative in a suite of alternative care pathways yesterday (11 August).

Launching the Residential Aged Care Enhanced Response (RACER) alternative care pathway, Medical Director of AV, Dr David Anderson said RACER was the first step in the AV Care Connect program and used the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department to link residential aged care facilities to expert advice and a wider range of alternative care options that better met the patient’s needs.

Dr Anderson said over 90 per cent of calls from residential aged care facilities that received an ambulance response resulted in the patient attending an emergency department.

“This is often unnecessary,” Dr Anderson said.

“Our aim is to improve the patient experience and health outcomes and relieve some of the pressure on the health care system by avoiding unnecessary ambulance dispatches and trips to hospital,” he said.

“Aged care patients, due to their frailty and chronic illness, have higher rates of ambulance use, but we know these trips to hospital can be very disruptive and stressful for them.”

Dr Anderson said RACER would help minimise stress and disruption, while also relieving the growing demand on hospitals due by reducing non-urgent and repeat call-outs, as well as the amount of time paramedics spent with cases.

“This in turn improves the availability of ambulances to reach the sickest patients faster,” the Medical Director said.

“The RACER pathway, operating 24-hours a day, every day, was developed following extensive consultation with clinicians, consumers, subject matter experts and aged care partners to ensure the service is easy to access, efficient, and supports paramedics to provide the best care, every time.”

He said the AV Care Connect program would see alternative care pathways created for people in palliative care, mental health patients, and patients with complex conditions who were frequent callers to Triple Zero (000).

Further information on the RACER pathway can be accessed at this PS News link.

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