Improved 000 call triage service for Victoria’s aged care homes

Ambulance Victoria (AV) is now using Victoria’s virtual emergency department to provide better care for elderly residents living in aged care facilities.

The Residential Aged Care Enhanced Response (RACER) alternative care pathway will better connect and coordinate Triple Zero (000) calls from residential aged care facilities.

Over 90 per cent of calls from residential aged care facilities that receive an ambulance response result in the patient attending an emergency department. This is often unnecessary.

“Our aim is to improve the patient experience and health outcomes and relieve some of the pressure on the health care system by avoiding unnecessary ambulance dispatches and trips to hospital,” Ambulance Victoria Medical Director Dr David Anderson said.

“Aged care patients, due to their frailty and chronic illness, have higher rates of ambulance use. But we know these trips to hospital can be very disruptive and stressful for them.

“RACER will help minimise stress and disruption, while at the same time relieving the growing demand on hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic by reducing non-urgent and repeat call-outs and time paramedics spend with cases.

“This in turn improves the availability of ambulances to reach the sickest patients faster.”

The pathway uses the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department, run by Northern Health, to link residential aged care facilities to expert advice and a wider range of alternative care options that better meet the patient’s needs.

The RACER pathway, operating 24-hours a day, every day, was developed following extensive consultation with clinicians, consumers, subject matter experts and aged care partners to ensure the service is easy to access, efficient, and supports paramedics to provide the best care, every time.

RACER is the first step in an exciting program of work at Ambulance Victoria called AV Care Connect. Future initiatives will see alternative care pathways created for people in palliative care, mental health patients, and patients with complex conditions who are frequent callers to Triple Zero (000).

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