Nyngan Health Service launches REACH program for families and patients, video

REACH: Jo Connelly with Nyngan Health Service Manager Jenny Griffiths at the launch of Nyngan's  REACH program. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN
REACH: Jo Connelly with Nyngan Health Service Manager Jenny Griffiths at the launch of Nyngan's REACH program. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN

The Nyngan Health Service have officially launched REACH, a patient and family activated rapid response program that encourages listening to families and empowering them to speak up when they bring their loved ones into hospitals. 

Nyngan Health Service Manager Jenny Griffiths launched the initiative on Wednesday and said she was excited to be introducing the program in Nyngan, which will be another step in keeping people safe. 

“We didn’t have a system for families to raise their concerns, so the Clinical Excellence Commission developed REACH with a family who lost a child to a preventable incident,” said Ms Griffiths. 

“We acknowledge family members and friends know patients better than us, and we need them to raise a hand and let us know.”

Developed in 2013 by the Clinical Excellence Commission, REACH stands for: Recognise, Engage, Act, Call and Help is on its way. It is a rapid response program that encourages patients and families to phone for urgent medical review if they believe a patient’s condition is deteriorating and clinical staff are not responding. 

The program works in two stages, firstly should a family member recognise a change in a patient, within 30 minutes local staff undertake a ‘clinical review’. Secondly if there is still concern over the patient family members and caregivers can contact REACH. 

Nyngan have partnered with the Patient Flow and Transport unit for Western NSW Local Health Service in Dubbo, who will undertake the independent review of the patient. 

“Patient Flow have kindly agreed to be the person on the other end of the phone for an independent review,” Ms Griffiths said.

“We have a really good working relationship with Patient Flow, and a good rapport that will continue. 

“We already have a lot to do with them, they already take critical care calls, patient transfers and medical reviews. They’re a pretty impressive service,” she said. 

Jo Connelly was present to launch the program in Nyngan and believed the REACH program would have made a difference for her. She said that while she wouldn’t have made a call, she knew her friends would. 

“Staff are really engaged with the message and see real value in the project,” said Ms Griffiths. 

Staff at the Nyngan Health Service are engaged with the message and see value in the program, which aims to improve care for patients. Photo: Zaarkacha Marlan

Staff at the Nyngan Health Service are engaged with the message and see value in the program, which aims to improve care for patients. Photo: Zaarkacha Marlan

“A number of patients wouldn’t make the call themselves but would be happy to have someone make it for them.”

“People won’t ring the number unless they know it’s there. Staff are happy to direct people to the program because it’s all about keeping people safe,” she said. 

The program extends across the NSW public health system and encompasses adult patient, mental health and paediatric units as well as an increasing number of rural hospitals.

Critical to the expansion of the program was the advocacy by Grant and Naomi Day after their young son Kyran passed away in 2013 by a preventable incident. 

Their story reinforced the programs commitment to working with patients, family members and carers to provide quality healthcare in a safe environment.

Grant and Naomi Day family video.

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