Taking the Edge Off Emergency Department Pressures

10.10.2019
Better Services

The Royal Adelaide Hospital is helping older South Australians to recover quicker, and at the same time dramatically reducing hospital admissions and easing pressure on the emergency department.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the Emergency Department Geriatric Syndromes Eighty+ (EDGE) program, which provides elderly patients with specialised treatment and care in the Emergency Department, is taking pressure off the hospital system.

“For older patients, a hospital stay often worsens their overall condition. Their routine and sleep is disrupted, they are separated from the support of family and friends, and prolonged bed-rest often rapidly decreases muscle strength,” Minister Wade said.

“The EDGE program is about giving older South Australians the medical care they need without unnecessary hospital admissions.

“The EDGE program has reviewed more than 250 patients and saved 550 occupied bed days, which helps to ease pressure on our emergency department and improve patient flow through the system.”

Geriatric consultant at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dr Chloe Furst, said in the first four months, about a third of patients referred to the program were able to be discharged from the emergency department and cared for at home.

“Patients who have been admitted spent on average 1.7 days in hospital compared to the typical length of stay of 5 days or more for similar cases,” Dr Furst said.

“Being able to receive care in a familiar and comfortable surrounding benefits a patient’s overall wellbeing and improves treatment outcomes, while also minimising the risk of hospital acquired complications.

“As part of the EDGE program, a team of experts including a geriatrician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, and social worker work alongside ED staff to assess and treat the specific needs of older arrivals - providing vital expertise at the earliest opportunity.

“The team develops a long-term care and management plan from the outset, determining whether the patient needs to be admitted for an initial hospital stay before returning home, or whether they can receive all of their medical care from the comfort of their own bed.”

“Once patients return home, they are referred to the Multidisciplinary Community Geriatric Service (MCGS) which coordinates the care they require.”

EDGE is one of a range of Marshall Government initiatives which aim to facilitate hospital avoidance, such as Priority Care Centres and the Home Hospital Program.

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