Special escalation system introduced

The Central Coast Local Health District has introduced a new program to allow patients and their families the opportunity to ‘REACH’ out for help when they notice a subtle change in condition while in hospital.
The REACH program is based around the surf lifesaving concept of raising your hand for help, and has been designed to encourage patients and their loved ones to speak up if they recognise even the slightest sign of clinical deterioration.
The new initiative has been rolled out across several wards at Gosford and Wyong hospitals and aims to build on the delivery of quality health care across the region, while opening up the channels of communication between patients, families and District staff.
REACH is an acronym which easily explains the process involved in the patient and family activated response system, and stands for: Recognise a change in condition; Engage with a doctor or nurse; Act on your concerns; Call for a clinical review; and, Help is on its way.
A REACH call will result in an independent assessment by a senior nurse to determine the nature of the call and manage the situation as appropriate.
This may include a Clinical Review by a Medical Officer or a Rapid Response team.
District Chief Executive, Dr Andrew Montague, said REACH was first trialled in Gosford Hospital’s Children’s Ward in 2015, and has since led to being successfully introduced to other parts of Gosford and Wyong hospitals.
“Patients and their families are often more aware of subtle changes that may signal clinical deterioration,” Dr Montague said.
“In many cases patients cannot always personally express their symptoms, and sometimes, small signs may not be obvious to staff, which is why a special escalation system has been developed to ensure nothing goes undetected.
“By introducing this program, the District is striving towards better health outcomes for our patients.”
Dr Montague said the program was strongly advocated by the Clinical Excellence Commission and was a proactive way to involve patients and their families in open and consistent communication.

Media release, Nov 22
Clare Graham, Central Coast Local Health District