Mental Health Co-responder Program to expand

A mental health program that reduces unnecessary emergency department visits will be expanded to all local health networks following its success at Central Adelaide in its first year.

The Mental Health Co-responder in Emergencies initiative (MH CORE) partners specialist mental health staff with paramedics to divert patients away from busy emergency departments to more appropriate services.

Mental Health Nurse Consultant Kathryn, who works in the MH CORE team, has assessed more than 400 patients since the project began.

Two out of three patients were supported to remain at home or to access community care services, thanks to advice provided through the MH CORE program.

Without these interventions, more than 260 patients would have been transported to emergency departments unnecessarily.

The MH CORE program, a collaboration between Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) and SA Ambulance Services (SAAS), will be expanded to the Northern and Southern Adelaide LHNs where the service will be available to the community 24/7.

Kathryn’s work has been recognised in the recent CEO/Board Commendation for Excellence in nursing.

“It’s about providing the right care for the person at the right time,” Kathryn said.

“They often feel more comfortable at home supported by people who care about them.”

Kathryn said hospitals often are stressful environments which could affect patients with mental health conditions adversely.

CALHN Mental Health Nursing Lead, Lesley Legg, said Kathryn is a leading example working at the top of her scope of practice.

“Kathryn has raised the profile of the mental health nurse in the wider community and demonstrate she is an excellent role model for nursing staff within our program,” she said.