Big win for St John WA clinical and staff development programs
- WA-based innovations in pre-hospital care have topped the leaderboard at the Council of Ambulance Authorities Awards for Excellence overnight.
- Take Home Naloxone, which enables ambulance crews to leave behind doses of naloxone for overdose patients who refuse transport, was recognised for clinical practice.
- The Critical Care Paramedic internship program, led by Medical Director Dr Gayle Christie, was awarded for staff development.
St John WA took out two of six categories at the 2023 Council of Ambulance Authorities Awards for Excellence, with a third initiative shortlisted.
The initiatives were recognised for staff development and clinical practice, and won out against a strong field of about 50 initiatives from around Australasia – up from 34 last year when the joint Virtual Emergency Medicine program with South Metropolitan Health Service won for Excellence in Patience Care.
Group CEO Kevin Brown said the strong field offered an opportunity to showcase the commitment of team members to patient care and clinical excellence.
“In addition to the two winning categories, the St John WA Recognising and Responding to Acute Deterioration RRAD project was also shortlisted, which is a locally-developed observation-based Early Warning Score and associated clinical escalation pathway into frontline ambulance practice for all clinicians,” Mr Brown said.
“It is heartening to see the commitment and drive of team members recognised on the national stage.”
Critical Care Paramedic internship program
The Critical Care Paramedic internship program, led by Medical Director Dr Gayle Christie, was awarded for staff development and judges noting the robust and comprehensive program was grounded in best practice and provided opportunities for team members to become involved in audit, research and education.
The program enabled a Critical Care pilot launched on road in Western Australia in January, delivering an advanced level of care to Perth’s metropolitan community. CCP crews primarily attend to critically ill patients more than 30 minutes from required hospital care, as they can treat and stabilise patients before transporting them directly to the appropriate hospital specialist unit.
CCPs can respond to major traumas, respiratory, neurological and cardiac incidents that require highly specialised skills such as pre-hospital anaesthesia, intubation and other hospital-based skills for critically ill patients. During the first three months of the pilot operation, CCP road crews responded to 143 cases and provided intervention in 105 of those cases. Among those cases, 54 per cent were trauma related and 21 required Pre-Hospital Emergency Anaesthesia (Rapid Sequence Induction and Intubation).
Take Home Naloxone
The Take Home Naloxone (THN) initiative, led by Head of Clinical Rudi Brits and Clinical Quality Manager Curtis Naylor, was recognised for clinical practice. The program was expanded from a regional pilot to a statewide initiative backed by the Mental Health Commission during the year. Under the potentially life-saving program, SJWA is the only ambulance service in Australasia able to leave behind doses of naloxone for overdose patients who refuse transport, which reduces their likelihood of overdose in the future.
St John dispensed “Take Home Naloxone” on more than 200 instances and noted an 80 per cent increase in THN administration prior to ambulance arrival as a result of the trial.