New system for ACT to detect a patient's worsening condition

A new program to help detect early signs that a patient's condition is worsening has been unveiled by ACT Health.

The new program which has already been trialed will be implemented in Canberra and Calvary public hospitals.

The program the 'Modified Early Warning Scores', involves changes to observation charts used to monitor patients.

A four month trial of the program conducted across four clinical areas during 2007, found patients were less likely to need treatment in intensive care, because doctors were able to detect problems before the patient became seriously ill.

The pilot project included the implementation of a new observation chart, modified early warning scores and the COMPASS education package, which was developed by ACT Health.

Dr. Imogen Mitchell from the Canberra Hospital says it means better patient care because it reduces the unplanned admissions to the intensive care unit.

It should ensure patients can be managed on the ward because they haven't deteriorated to the point that they need extra support and resources.

Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister Katy Gallagher says the program will help to prioritise patient treatment for medical staff with a busy workload, will simplify documentation, alert people early if a patient is starting to decline, and instigate the necessary processes that are needed.

The ACT Government will also use television advertisements to encourage Canberrans to become more active and urge adults to do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

The campaign will use the slogan 'Find 30, it's not a big exercise' and includes three commercials a woman dancing, a woman gardening and a dog being walked.

Gallagher says half of all adults in the ACT do not do enough physical activity and their diets could be better and the campaign fosters the message that just for 30 minutes each day people must get up and get moving.

The COMPASS education package has been accepted into the curriculum of both the Australian National University Medical School and the University of Canberra Nursing School.

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