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Critical Care capacity expanded with High Dependency model of care

18 June 2020

Photo: Registered Nurses Tayla Morgan, Jack Timms and Sarah Stainlay represent the frontline of the high dependency model.

QEII Hospital has a new solution for patients requiring a higher level of care with the establishment of a High Dependency model of care within the Intensive Care Unit.

Director of Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Dr David Stewart said that looking at the overall critical care capacity at QEII highlighted a need for an intermediate level between intensive care and general ward care to more directly meet the needs of the patients being treated at QEII.

“The focus of the high dependency model in critical care is to ensure we are able to provide an increased level of care in a separate specialised area with closer monitoring, greater nursing support and earlier intervention to manage the unique risks of those patients,” he said.

“We now have an additional four critical care-capable beds in this area and patients may be admitted from the ICU as a step-down prior to transfer to the ward, or directly from the ward, recovery or emergency areas.”

Nursing Director for Medicine, Julie Finucane said the co-location of the beds between ICU and Ward 3B ensured the best resourcing of skilled staff and knowledge to benefit those patients.

“The patients who meet the criteria for this space could be post-surgical patients with significant blood loss, a number or Rapid Response Team calls or a patient from a Code Blue on the ward who may require higher level care to manage their risks,” she said.  “This model also means we can admit very unwell patients from the Emergency Department sooner.”

Dr Stewart said that while COVID-19 was a driver to assess the critical care capacity of QEII to manage patients with respiratory conditions, the result is we identified a need and implemented a high dependency model of care in a separate space for all types of surgical or medical patients meeting the criteria for intermediate level care.

“The value of this high dependency model which became a reality for us in June this year is that we now have a broader overview of any patients within the facility who may be at higher risk and the means of escalating them for critical care medicine in this intermediate space.

Last updated 19 June 2020
Last reviewed 18 June 2020

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