EDGE team helping older patients get the right care

GPs wanting advice around how to navigate the Royal Adelaide Hospital emergency department when directing older patients are able to contact the EDGE team (Emergency Department, Geriatrics, Eighty+).

Since its introduction in 2019, the EDGE team has focused on helping older people to access the right care and if appropriate avoid the emergency department, or a hospital stay, by providing care at home with specialist medical support, equipment and services.

Clinical Lead Geriatric Medicine at the RAH, Dr Alice Bourke, said the specialist geriatric health team provides acute assessment and management for older patients in the ED and for those who need admission to the acute assessment unit.

“While referrals to the team are predominantly from within the emergency department and Central Adelaide’s community geriatrics team, GPs can also contact EDGE if they are directing older patients to the RAH emergency department or if they want advice about hospital avoidance or medical management of the older person,” Dr Bourke said.

“The team is truly multidisciplinary and consists of a consultant geriatrician, geriatric advanced trainee, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social worker and other allied health staff, and provides comprehensive, patient-centred care that facilitates prompt hospital discharge.

“A patient’s quality of life, health-related issues, function and home support are major considerations for the multidisciplinary EDGE team when coordinating medical care for their patients.”

EDGE care priorities are for patients older than 90 years, those from residential aged care or who present with predominantly geriatric syndromes.

The early specialist input from the team often reduces a patient’s length of stay and in turn lessens associated hospital acquired complications, resulting in a higher percentage of patients returning to their home.

GPs can contact the on-call EDGE geriatrician for advice by calling the RAH switchboard and asking to speak to the EDGE geriatrician.

EDGE is one of a range of services provided by the RAH Department of Geriatric Medicine and Rehabilitation (DGRM) for patients in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

The EDGE team are passionate about providing quality healthcare for the older South Australian.

Pictured are EDGE team members Susan McDonald (NUM), Dr Jessica Huang (consultant), Carly Schiller (pharmacy) and Joe Maloney (physiotherapist).