A new intake model called QuickStart is now offering better support to patients awaiting admission to state’s Spinal Cord Injury Service at PA Hospital, and the clinical teams caring for them.
Research shows early admission to a specialist spinal unit results in the best clinical outcomes for people with newly acquired spinal cord injury (SCI) so the Queensland Spinal Cord Injuries Service (QSCIS) set about developing an initiative that would expedite access despite workforce impacts from COVID-19 and winter demands.
Project Coordinator Donna Harre said that while support for patients awaiting admission and non-specialist clinicians across Queensland is not new, the focus of the project is removing the block at the admission end for patients with new injuries.
“QuickStart offers clinical support services and quality clinician educational resources to ensure patients who are referred to the spinal cord injury service, are still provided the specialist spinal care they need while awaiting admission from hospital to the unit,” Donna said.
“QuickStart gives the QSCIS team greater visibility of numbers, needs and locations across the state of people with a newly acquired injury. Any immediate spinal injury care support is identified with the referring team so the new QuickStart in-reach service can offer rapid proactive and flexible support,” she said.
This response helps prevent patients from experiencing avoidable complications or deterioration in their condition ahead of admission to SIU.
QuickStart offers medical, nursing and allied health interdisciplinary support by phone, email, teleconference or in-person wherever possible alongside the development of more online educational resources to support non-specialist clinicians with components of essential care instruction.
“Clinicians might not have cared for a person with SCI for some time, so access to well-designed information on things like bladder and bowel, skin and respiratory care is essential,” said Donna.
Since commencing a small trial of the initiative in April 2022, QuickStart has received 111 referrals and provided 438 hours of occasions of service. It has enabled some people to discharge direct from non-specialist units with the support of the QSCIS Transitional Rehabilitation Program (TRP) and the Spinal Outreach Service (SPOT) who assist integration back into the community with flexible support for families and carers.
Metro South Health is one of five Hospital and Health Services participating in the Statewide Brain and Spinal Cord Injury (BaSCI) project. Other BaSCI sites across Queensland have identified the need to partner with QSCIS and link to the new QuickStart model. Multiple HHSs are bringing on specialised roles to help overcome complex issues and create collaborative patient-centred solutions for people with SCI.
These investments and initiatives demonstrate how valuable the integration of services across Queensland are, and the benefit of working together in the BaSCI Project to overcome complex statewide issues with collaborative patient centred solutions.
The project launched a nine-month pilot in September 2022.