The burden of mental illness on the Australian community and public health care system is substantial. (1) Every year in Queensland, approximately 300 people who present to a rural or remote ED location with acute behavioural disturbances (ABD) require aeromedical retrieval to an Authorised Mental Health Service (AMHS). ABD is “combined physical actions made by an individual which are in excess of those considered contextually appropriate and are judged to have the potential to result in significant harm to the individual themselves, other individuals or property” of rapid onset and a severe nature.(2)The transfer of people experiencing ABD is challenging due to difficulties in balancing patient rights and safety against that of the retrieval team. The aeromedical retrieval environment is restrictive, both in physical size and in relation to resource access, necessitating a heavy emphasis on risk-mitigation. Whilst research has established a safe approach to the sedation of people with ABD, other aspects of their retrieval remain lacking in evidence, and may contribute to suboptimal care and delayed access to specialist mental health services. This programme of research aims to explore those areas to ensure the management of people with ABD requiring aeromedical retrieval is optimal. Should changes in practice be required as a result, operating procedures and policies with Queensland's aeromedical network will occur.READ MORE
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