Initiative to help improve outcomes for emergency department patients

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April 13, 2023

According to the WA Sustainable Health Review, five per cent of people who present to emergency departments (EDs) in Western Australia account for 20 per cent of all presentations, which is oftentimes due to patients’ underlying unmet psychosocial needs.

To help relieve this additional pressure on the Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) ED, project co-leads Sarah Rooney and Claire Jones, trialled the High Intensity Use Service, or HIUS, with the aim of better supporting frequent ED patients and connecting them with other supports and services available outside of EDs.

Following a very effective trial, funding has been granted by the Department of Health to the South Metropolitan Health Service Complex Needs Coordination Team (CoNeCT), who are incorporating elements of the HIUS model into a scalable initiative, specifically designed for implementation at all Perth metropolitan public hospitals.

HIUS project co-lead, Claire Jones, explained that the six-month trial had excellent outcomes for both patients and the FSH ED.

“HIUS is unique because it took a humanistic approach to determine the root cause for a patients frequent visits to the ED,” Claire said.

“Our trial results show that presentations to the FSH ED among this cohort reduced by an incredible 42 per cent and even when they did come to the ED, the total minutes spent there reduced by 56 per cent.

“Sarah and I are looking forward to watching CoNeCT’s initiative take inspiration from HIUS to help Western Australians and relieve some of the ED pressure.”

SMHS CoNeCT Team Lead, Wez Serrano, said he is proud to build on HIUS’ success for the rest of our metro community.

“HIUS had incredible outcomes for our community and we are so proud to use what we learned from its success to benefit our hospitals and community across Perth,” Wez said.

Initially implemented by the Kaartdijin Innovation team and Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group Mental Health Services, with support from the UK-based founder of the NHS model, HIUS has now been transitioned to the CoNeCT Mental Health Expansion team, who will manage the design and implementation of the CoNeCT model for frequent ED visitors across Perth.

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