Do you know when to REACH?

Nurses Meredith Gavin, Katrina Hall, Anna Stepney, Caroline Stalmachowski and Marziah Kazemi.
Nurses Meredith Gavin, Katrina Hall, Anna Stepney, Caroline Stalmachowski and Marziah Kazemi.

Following a roll out across the southern sector of the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD), the REACH system is now in place at Cowra Hospital.

REACH is a system that helps patients, their families and carer/s escalate their concerns with staff about worrying changes in a patient's condition.

The REACH model is a graded approach to patient and family activated escalation:

Recognise: patients and families can often recognise signs of deterioration before they are clinically evident.

Engage: we encourage patients and families to engage with their treating team if they are concerned that 'something is not right'.

Act: patients and families can request a 'clinical review'.

Call: patients and families can call for an independent review if they are still concerned and other avenues are exhausted.

Help: help will be on its way in Western NSW when you call our REACH number. Your call will be answered by a nurse from our virtual care team. They will coordinate an independent review of the patient.

Since it was launched on June 15, one family has used the REACH program at Cowra Hospital.

WNSWLHD Executive Director Quality, Clinical Safety and Nursing, Adrian Fahy said, "The REACH model builds on the surf lifesaving analogy for recognition and appropriate care of deteriorating patients by encouraging patients and family to 'put their hands in the air' to signal they are 'drowning' and reaching out for help".

"We know you know yourself or the person you care for best. We encourage you to tell us if you have a serious concern about your condition or notice a worrying change.

"The REACH program helps you share your concerns with us," Adrian said.

You may RECOGNISE a worrying change or have a serious concern about your condition or the condition of the person you care for.

If you do, speak to the nurse or doctor. Tell them your concerns.

We call this ENGAGING with our clinicians.

If they do not help you with your concerns or the condition is getting worse then ACT. Ask to speak to the Nurse in Charge.

Ask for a "Clinical Review". This should occur within 30 minutes.

If you are still worried make a REACH CALL to our virtual care team. Call the number displayed throughout the hospital and in the bedside booklet.

HELP will be on its way.

In WNSWLHD the nurse from the virtual care team will coordinate an independent review and ensure that you know the plan for your care.

"Unlike other models, the REACH model actively promotes engagement with the treating team prior to further escalation steps taken by the patient and family," Adrian said.

"We are proud to be implementing the REACH program. There is already clear evidence about the clinical benefits of patient and family activated rapid response, which results in improved patient care.

"We are urging our patients, their family, friends or carers to REACH out, if they have concerns about the patient's condition.

"However, it is also clear that REACH is not a system to enable patients, carers or families to raise concerns or complaints about the care provided while in hospital."

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one's condition, you can escalate it through REACH on 1800 569 000.