Territory Stories

Annual Report 2010-2011 NT Community Visitor Program



Annual Report 2010-2011 NT Community Visitor Program

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Tabled paper 1572


Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




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Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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Community Visitor Program Annual Report 2010 - 2011 Page 16 Medical Treatment in Psychiatric Inpatient Units It is standard practice throughout Australia to conduct a brief physical examination before admitting a person to a psychiatric ward. In the Territory, people being admitted to a psychiatric inpatient unit are assessed in the Emergency Department (ED) of either Alice Springs Hospital (ASH) or Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH). During a visit to the TEMHS Inpatient Unit, the community visitor was informed that Georgie had two Code Blues called, yet still was not admitted to a medical ward at RDH. The Code Blues were called because staff had not been able to rouse her. On investigation, the community visitor found that after the first incident, Georgie was treated in RDH, but returned to the TEMHS Inpatient Unit after she had recovered. The following day, Georgie was found to be unresponsive in the morning. She was medically reviewed and plans made to move her to a medical ward at RDH later that day. By evening, Georgie was reviewed in her room and again found to be unresponsive. A second Code Blue was called. In the end, she was assessed in the ED at RDH and then returned to TEMHS Inpatient Unit for treatment because there were no beds available in the medical ward. Arrangements were made to monitor her, and to transfer her to RDH the following day if necessary. The community visitor asked the Authorised Psychiatric Practitioner (APP) whether Georgie would have been better off medically had she remained in RDH after her transfer when the first Code Blue was called. The APP felt that the transfer back to the psychiatric unit was reasonable in the circumstances, and that consultation between RDH and TEMHS had been effective and followed existing protocols. The major problem was confusion when the plan had been to transfer Georgie to a medical ward on the second day, and the transfer had not taken place. This was verified when the community visitor reviewed the case file. The community visitor was satisfied that this was a one-off occurrence and did not indicate a systemic problem between RDH and TEMHS. The Community Visitor investigated incidents where two emergency medical calls had been necessary for two consumers admitted to the Mental Health Unit (MHU) within a very short period of time. 1. Mandy was assessed as having high blood pressure in ED, which settled and she was subsequently transferred to the MHU. She was transferred back to ED when she became unconscious and unresponsive. 2. Nani was sedated in the MHU and subsequently suffered respiratory depression. She was transferred to the Rapid Assessment and Discharge Unit for observation.

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