"Person in duress" centred system

Anyone who contacts a facility for help with a health concern is likely to be under a certain amount of duress and therefore their ability to navigate the health system and to think and express themselves clearly is likely to be compromised.

So, keep it simple for people: have one place for them to initially contact assistance by whatever means they are familiar with - ie phone, SMS (eg for those hard of hearing),  email, Skype or drop in to hospital.

*******The staff at initial contact must be well trained to LISTEN carefully to the person's concerns and to ask the right questions. They are the critical link in the chain. They must have broard medical experience so that they can flag symptoms that people "think may not be important" that are are actually critical, in case emergency care is required. (eg. neck pain may be a symptom of meningitis or heart attack; hand/leg/face weakness/slurred speech may be a symptom of a stroke; redness and swelling of a limb may be a symptom of cellulitis which can lead quickly to septacaemia).

The staff member with whom the patient makes initial contact then makes a directive to triage the patient to ambulance, ED, out patient appointment, GP, or phone/skype consultation etc.

Also, the Australian Ambulance Service needs to make very clear the difference between EMERGENCY transport of patients requiring urgent medical assessment and/or care and NON EMERGENCY transport of patients who need more care/asisstance with transfers and in transit than what a taxi can provide. Separate well labelled vehicles for these very different purposes would be one way to educate the public about the difference. Or, a more flexible system may use a modifiable external signage system on the vehicles to ensure the public can distinguish between the two.

Why the contribution is important

1. Our health budget is limited so processes need to be efficient to avoid wasting resources

2. Individuals in the community are generally not interested in the politics, policies, funding systems and procedures that enable them to get the health care they require. They just want help when they need it for what they need.

3. So much public money is wasted in systems such as My aged Care and NDIS because the first person the patient /client contacts by phone has no effective listening skills, no training or experience in medical or rehabilitation issues and (in my experience) is more interested in trying to explain the rediculously complex system and rules under which they must operate rather than listening properly to the concerns and needs of the patient/client. I am not exaggerating.

by ableford on August 17, 2019 at 07:24PM

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  • Posted by samanthaher_MetroSouthHealth August 20, 2019 at 13:15

    Hi ableford, thank you for your contribution.
    I am pleased to inform you that the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) has a number of vehicle types in its fleet including those that enable the transportation of both acute (emergency) and non-acute patients. Non-acute patients can be transported by the QAS Patient Transport Service which provides transport to and from routine (non-urgent) appointments.
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