Meet David, Chair of the Deteriorating Patient Committee

Hear from David Alexander, Western Health Emergency Physician as he shares his thoughts on the DPC and Best Care.


Tell us about the DPC…

We want people to feel comfortable escalating patient care.  Deterioration comes in many forms: mental health, cognition, physiological deterioration…it is very broad. It’s not just looking at inpatients, but everyone on site, including members of the visiting public. We have rapid response systems in place to attend to all types of deterioration and the DPC reviews the personnel, processes and equipment to ensure we have the right responses at the right time to each of those areas.

A lot of our work is around tracking performance, looking at the data around met calls, code blues, calls for help and urgent clinical reviews, to ensure that we not only maintain our standards but also improve and challenge ourselves further in specific areas.

Who sits on the DPC?

The DPC has broad representation from clinicians, managers, quality, education and a consumer. We are a cross campus committee, who meet monthly and who also oversee a number of other sub-committees.

How does the DPC support staff to provide Best Care?

We want to make sure all staff, particularly more junior staff feel comfortable and confident to escalate patient care.  We work closely with staff to ensure they are able to identify which patients might be at risk of subsequent deterioration, and better understand how they can use outreach services to help diagnose and manage these patients. We encourage a collaborative workplace that is supportive of all staff and we provide education so staff know how to handle what can be very complex patients. It is essential staff  feel empowered to escalate patient care to deliver Best Care.

In your opinion, what are some things Western Health have done particularly well in the past 12 months to contribute to Best Care?

Organisationally, there has been a lot of brilliant work undertaken to improve early identification, investigation and management of delirium.  In addition to this, ensuring that patient’s wishes are respected for end of life care has been a big focus.  This means that there is clear documentation and an understanding between the treating teams and their patients and families.  This is important, particularly if patients who are at the end of their lives do not want specific escalation or resuscitation measures.

We are also doing really well in terms of code calls and code responses.  I’m extremely happy with how smoothly staff incorporated the ‘New Codes on the Block’ last year, particularly given the number of changes that were implemented; all  in the midst of many staff preparing for the JKWC move.

And finally, we are excited to launch the standardised state-of-the-art adult code blue responder equipment to Footscray and Sunshine Hospital precincts on Monday the 24th February.

What’s next on the cards for the DPC?

We are working on providing more feedback to staff who are at the pointy end of patient care – to provide them with more information on our reviews and data findings, general patterns and trends, to give staff any extra support they may need but predominantly to give them feedback on how well they’re doing!

For more information on the Deteriorating Patient click here.