Authors: Euan Donley
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Advocacy,Suicide Prevention,Funding – Changing Models, Systems,Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Clinical Issues,Service Systems, Delivery, Implementation
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Increasingly mental health and other patients are presenting to Emergency Departments (EDs). To alleviate long waits in ED and the blocking of access to beds, National Emergency Access Targets (NEAT) were introduced. While this has alleviated some access issues for ED and hospital patients, it has also impacted on the service delivery to patients and their families in the ED.
This mixed methods study included 7 EDs across metropolitan Melbourne and explored ED mental health clinicians’ experiences of NEAT. What became apparent was, without prompt, a significant number of participants acknowledge that in the rush to meet NEAT, families and carers were often disadvantaged.
Participants noted that NEAT has resulted in less time to support relatives/carers, less time seeking collateral information from relatives/carers, and less time to properly respond to complex social needs. It is acknowledged that ED mental health clinicians are under significant pressure with high-risk patient workloads and organisational requirements to meet NEAT. This combination is likely to result in adverse or poorer outcomes for mental health consumers and their relatives/carers.
Learning Objective 1: People will learn that ED mental health risk assessment is complex, and that policies such as NEAT can, at times, present challenges with comprehensive assessment and family / carer support.
Learning Objective 2: Thousands of mental health patients present to ED each year. This number has been steadily increasing, and will continue to do so. EDs are increasingly a primary source of support for mental health patients and their families / carers.
Donley E (2016) National Emergency Access Targets and Psychiatric Risk Assessment in Emergency Departments: Implications for Involving
Family or Carers. J Psychiatry Ment Health 1(2): doi http://dx.doi.org/10.16966/2474-7769.107
Rowe J (2012) Great expectations: a systematic review of the
literature on the role of family carers in severe mental illness, and their
relationships and engagement with professionals. J Psychiatric & Mental
Health Nursing 19: 70-82.