Ambulance Victoria has introduced an enhanced response service that triages triple zero calls for people living in residential aged care.
Developed in consultation with clinicians, consumers and aged care partners, the Residential Aged Care Enhanced Response – or RACER – is an alternative care pathway developed to better connect and coordinate tripe zero calls from aged care homes.
More than 90 per cent of calls from aged care facilities that receive an ambulance response result in the patient attending an emergency department – often unnecessarily.
“Aged care patients, due to their frailty and chronic illness, have higher rates of ambulance use. But we know these trips to hospital can be very disruptive and stressful at times,” said Ambulance Victoria medical director Dr David Anderson. “RACER will help minimise stress and disruption.”
Under RACER, if an ambulance is not needed, a triage practitioner will refer patients to a Residential-in-Reach service. These services are staffed by hospital-based nurses and doctors who provide telephone support and on-site assessment of the aged care resident.
Operating 24/7, RACER also utilises the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department. Run by Northern Health and launched in February, VVED links residential aged care facilities to expert advice and a wider range of care options.
“Our aim is to improve the patient experience and health outcomes and relieve some of the pressure on the healthcare system by avoiding unnecessary ambulance dispatches and trips to hospital,” said Dr Anderson.
Main image: a paramedic working in the RACER triage team