These very important little words could actually save your child’s life.
After baby, Kyran Day, died after he was misdiagnosed with gastroenteritis, his parents Naomi and Grant were determined that no other family should suffer because their gut feelings were ignored.
The Sydney Morning Herald shared that Kyran’s death in 2013 has been a hot topic again with news that a five-year-old boy died hours after he was sent home from Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital.
The case has again raised questions about what parents and carers can do if they are worried their child is getting sick and not getting the medical attention they need.
In NSW, a rapid response program called REACH is designed to enable families to speak up and call for help if a patient is deteriorating while they are in hospital.
Introduced in 2013, the Days have since been working with the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) to improve REACH, which stands for “Recognise, Engage, Act, Call, Help is on its way”.
“Listening to the parent should be the No.1 rule,” Naomi Day said. “Babies and children don’t have a voice, they can’t put their hands up and say ‘Mummy, something is seriously wrong’. But parents know every little thing about their child. Every cry,” she said.
Parents worried their child is getting sicker can:
1. Put their hands up and tell staff right away.
2. If they are still worried, ask the nurse in charge to look at their child.
3. If they believe something is still not right and want to see a doctor they should ask for a “clinical review”, which should be carried out within 30 minutes.
4. Parents who are still not satisfied with the level of care can trigger a “rapid emergency response” by calling a unique number, displayed in REACH brochures inside hospitals. Doctors should arrive within minutes to reassess the child’s condition.
You can call REACH on 000 000 000
REACH is the NSW equivalent to Queensland’s Ryan’s Rule and has been implemented in roughly half of the state’s hospitals.
Queensland mum, Lili Curtis, was not happy with the treatment her daughter, Arabella, was given at the Gold Coast University hospital. She was turned away eight times in over two weeks. Thanks to a reminder from a friend she evoked, Ryan’s Rule.
Straight away one of the head Paedatrician’s was assessing her daughter and they soon received a diagnosis and antibiotics for bronchiolitis.
Last year 654 calls were made to evoke Ryan’s rule. In 75% of cases there was no change of treatment needed.
But in 163 cases the family were right. And their intervention saved a life.
Ryan Saunders, was nearly three years old when he tragically died in hospital. His death was found to be, in all likelihood, preventable. Staff did not know Ryan as well as his mum and dad knew him.
When Ryan’s parents were worried he was getting worse they didn’t feel their concerns were acted upon in time.
Ryan’s Rule has been developed to provide patients of any age, families and carers with another way to get help.
Ryan’s Rule is for all patients, families and carers.
Use Ryan’s Rule to get help when you are concerned about a patient in hospital who is getting worse, not doing as well as expected, or not improving.
Who can call: patients, families or carers.
Step 1: Talk to a nurse or doctor about your concerns.
Step 2: Talk to the nurse in charge of the shift.
Step 3: Phone 13 Health (13 43 25 84)
or ask a nurse and they will call on your behalf.
Request a Ryan’s Rule Clinical Review and
provide the following information:
• hospital name
• patient’s name
• ward, bed number (if known)
• your contact number.
A Ryan’s Rule nurse or doctor will review the patient and assist.
Other states across Australia have enforced similar rules. Check with your local health provider if you are seeking further information in your state. Or ask to speak to the patient liaison officer at your hospital.
Everyone who is seeking or receiving care in the Australian health system has certain rights regarding the nature of that care. These are described in the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. Find more information here.
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