Monday, May 16, 2011

Mental Health Emergency Care – Rural Access Program (MHEC-RAP).

Large distances and staff shortages mean that rural hospitals are unable to provide skilled mental health assessments and management for patients with mental health emergencies. The response is costly and often dangerous transportation to distant inpatient psychiatric units, often with police and ambulance. Frequently, such transfers are later seen as unnecessary.

The Mental Health Emergency Care (MHEC) provides thorough assessment by video-link by 24/7 mental health nursing staff who have been specifically trained and supported by psychiatrists. MHEC-RAP provides high quality, comprehensive assessment and assistance in management for patients presenting with mental health emergencies to ED departments throughout Western NSW on a 24 hour basis.

After 2 years of operation the service has very high stakeholder (patients, nurses, GPs, Police, Ambulance) satisfaction and has increased ED nurses skills and confidence, has dramatically reduced unnecessary transports and associated costs and risks.

This project is recurrently funded, saves money and also saves personnel and financial costs to Ambulance and Police. It has high stakeholder satisfaction. The reputation of this service with Police and Ambulance is very high. It is extremely sustainable.
Dr Russell Roberts, Director, Western NSW Mental Health Network 
3rd Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium - Impacts & Outcomes
Mercure, Ballarat 14th – 16th November 2011

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