Canberra Hospital to Expand Acute Medical Unit

Canberra Hospital has expanded its Acute Medical Unit (AMU), a high-acuity care service for adults, to help improve patient flow, provide better health outcomes for patients and ease pressure on the hospital’s emergency department (ED).

This is part of the ACT Government’s broader investment in improving patient flow and ED performance, which also includes: more medical officers, nurses and allied health professionals; dedicated nursing staff supporting patients in the waiting room; implementation of a Paediatric Short Stay Unit; and expansion of nurse-led Walk-in Centres with the recruitment of five more Nurse Practitioners.

Patients in the AMU are assessed by a multidisciplinary team that can start planning care pathways and discharge sooner, rather than patients remaining in the ED while they wait to be admitted to another inpatient ward.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said transferring appropriate patients to the AMU from ED has a range of benefits, including freeing up more beds in the ED and providing better health outcomes for patients.

“The pilot AMU program – a 2021-22 Budget commitment – has been running since December 2021 with positive feedback from staff and patients who have been transferred to the unit,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

“By expanding the unit from 12 beds to 24 beds, we hope to see an increase in patients moving out of ED and into the AMU more quickly and even see some patients discharged straight from AMU when they don’t need to be admitted to a specialist ward.”

The AMU has higher staff to patient ratios compared with general inpatient wards and includes dedicated medical, nursing, allied health and support staff.

“The AMU model improves access to these enhanced early care services for complex patients, speeding up the journey through ED, admitting patients to the right ward at the right time and reducing the overall length of stay.”

Medical Director of the Acute Medical Unit, Dr Anna Nakauyaca said sub-specialty consultants will also be able to provide early care to AMU patients alongside the work of the unit’s multidisciplinary team, where needed.

“While the AMU multidisciplinary team can assess and start providing care pathways sooner, there may be some patients who are well known to specific medical teams at the hospital and require their input for continuity of care,” Dr Nakauyaca said.

“The AMU will not replace that, but rather work with these consultants to start care early and safely.”

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) might be of the point-in-time nature, and edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take institutional positions or sides, and all views, positions, and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s).View in full here.