The St.Emlyn’s virtual hospital podcast

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May 31, 2018  

Acute Psychiatric Emergencies in the ED. The APEx course.

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This month we have a podcast on how we approach patients with mental health needs in the ED. It outlines the rationale and delivery of a change in how we manage some of the most vulnerable patients in the ED. We hope you find it interesting and I suspect you will also find it quite challenging. We are aiming to improve the care of patients with Mental Health needs, but in doing so we must face our own prejudices and practices, which are not always healthy.

Editorial note on language – as you listen to the podcast you might be surprised to hear us use words like ‘insane’ in relation to decisions and systems. In some ways it seems incongruous to use such terms in a podcast that promotes a better understanding of mental health issues. We considered taking them out, but after consideration we left them in an attempt to illustrate the false dichotomy between medical and psychiatric needs that is embedded in much of our work. Perhaps the use of language reflects this and makes the point that we can do better.

Why do we need to rethink our approach to Psychiatric emergencies in the ED?

There are a group of life threatening conditions that present to your ED that you don’t deal with, or at least you don’t deal with very well. This group of conditions has a significant mortality and an incredibly high morbidity, but if you are a typical emergency physician you probably don’t think you own the problem. This group of conditions is at least as common as chest pain and yet it’s unlikely that you feel the same level of ownership of the problem. 

The issue is of course that of psychiatric illness. In Virchester it accounts for about 1 in 20 patients through the door, and that number is much, much higher if we were to include substance abuse and its related outcomes. 

In general, the approach in many UK units is to divide the patient up on arrival into physical and mental health needs. We feel responsible for the physical problem and then we try and offload any psychiatric problems onto the psychiatrists and mental health teams. At the centre of this is the patient who really does not see or feel this dichotomy and we really need to challenge our approach to this.

Such dichotomies are embedded in our systems. I’m sure that many readers will be familiar with the request to ‘medically clear’ a patient in order that they can then be assessed by the mental health team. Bizareer customs and practice take place around these assessments, for example in Virchester the rule that a patient with a heart rate of more than 100 cannot be medically fit for assessment is sometimes used to decline psychiatric assessment. Such informal rules (none are actually written down or appear in any agreed protocol) result in delayed assessments, patient distress and long waits in the ED. I could go on, and whilst there is good and practice amongst all teams and specialities (we are just as bad at the mental health teams in promoting this dichotomy), the point is that we really don’t act in the patient’s best interests by dividing mental and physical health.

This clear difficulty was one of the starting points for the APEX course, which aims to bring psychiatry and emergency medicine together for the benefit of patients, services and staff. 

The interview on the podcast is recorded with Prof. Kevin Mackway-Jones who many of you will know through his work with the Advanced Life Support Group. He was the instigator of APLS at a time when there was a clear need for emergency physicians to improve their approach and knowledge of paediatric emergencies. APEx feels the same. A common condition in our EDs for which we are not currently doing the best that we can for our patients and where a joint teaching and learning approach is needed between the ‘tribes’ of medicine.

This could be a game changer to how we manage a very common and very vulnerable group of patients in the ED.

So what’s on the course?

I can’t give you the whole courses here but there are a few principles that underpin the content and approach.

Key points.

  1. It’s co-written and developed between psychiatry and emergency medicine
  2. It’s a symptom based approach (just like APLS) and so it deals with how we deal with the presenting complaint first and not the underlying diagnosis (as you may not know what this is when you are dealing with the patient).
  3. The approach will be familiar to many Eps.
  4. Primary Survey
  5. Resuscitation
  6. Secondary Survey
  7. Definitive management
  8. There is a unified approach. The patient needs an ABC approach for physical health, but in addition and concurrently they also need the AEIOU approach.
    1. A – Assessment of Aggression and Agitation
    2. E – The Environment in which you are assessing the patient
    3. I – The Intent of the patient
    4. O – The Objects the patient has to carry out the intent
    5. U – The Unified assessment (as you will also be carrying out an ABC assessment alongside AEIOU)
  9. Rapid tranquilisation is a key conern for EPs and so there is lots on this that does not automatically default to restraint, a needle and syringe and a significant risk.
    1. Oral tranquilisation works
    2. Ketamine is not the answer to every patient
    3. It’s a risk based approach as every intervention (including no intervention) has a risk

Find out more

You can find out more on the ALSG website here.

What has APEx got to do with St Emlyn’s?

At St Emlyn’s we are letting you know about the course for several reasons. Many of us teach and support the work of the ALSG charity (for free and because we believe in it), but also that we all believe that the care of patients with mental health needs can be improved. They are a vulnerable group who generally get a bad deal when they present in crisis to emergency departments. We know we can do better and we believe that this course will help us achieve our goal to do the best that we can for our patients.

APEX Course information.

 

S

@EMManchester

 

October 21, 2017  

St Emlyn’s in Review October 2017

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Simon (@EMManchester) and Iain (@docib) review some of the articles from the St Emlyns blog site (http://stemlynsblog.org/) from recent weeks and chat about the current state of Emergency Medicine in the UK.

1:00 - How to declare a Major Incident - http://stemlynsblog.org/how-to-declare-a-major-incident-st-emlyns/

3:10 -  RCEM ASC 2017 – Update on the TiLLI study - http://stemlynsblog.org/rcem-asc-2017-update-on-the-tilli-study/

6:03 - The rise and SURPRISE of the DOACs - http://stemlynsblog.org/the-rise-and-surprise-of-the-doacs/

8:08 - Life as an EM Trainee in South Africa -  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-st-emlyns-virtual-hospital-podcast/id547326956?mt=2&i=1000393179333

9:26 - Rheum for Improvement? The physical challenge of EM training - http://stemlynsblog.org/rheum-for-improvement-st-emlyns/ Harriet's website is here  - https://www.rheumforimprovement.com/

10:47 - JC: Oxygen in ACS. A fuss about nothing? The DETO2X Trial - http://stemlynsblog.org/oxygen-in-acs-a-fuss-about-nothing/. Paper is here - http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1706222

11:57 - Is cMyC the new troponin? - http://stemlynsblog.org/cmyc-new-troponin/

13:00 - Who gets a Tetanus? You get a Tetanus! - http://stemlynsblog.org/tetanus-in-the-ed/

14:22 - Mass Casualty Incidents: Lessons from AAST - http://stemlynsblog.org/mass-casualty-incidents-lessons-aast-st-emlyns/

15:00 - The Annual Scientific Conference and the State of EM

August 1, 2017  

Everybody’s free - Top Tips for the Class of 2017

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It's that time of year again, where we get new colleagues in the Emergency Department (and across lots of other areas of the hospital too).

These are some of the top tips  for new starters (and life in the ED in general) gathered from the senior medical and nursing team at Virchester (South).

More induction guidance and education available at http://stemlynsblog.org/induction/

Oh. And one tip we left out - always wear sunscreen.

With thanks (and apologies) to Baz Luhrmann.

March 5, 2017  

St Emlyn’s In Review - March 2017

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In a new podcast format Simon (@EMManchester) and Iain (@docib) discuss the month's offerings from the St Emlyn's blog and podcast (www.stemlynsblog.org).

 

It's been a month full of interesting posts on subjects as diverse as Thrombolysis in Stroke (Alan Grayson), The Future of Emergency Medicine in the Social Age (Simon), Cardiac Arrest Centres (Simon), Love in Critical Care (Liz Crowe), Transfers (Nat and Simon), Thrombolysis in PE (a guest post from FOAMed legend Anand Swarminathan) and Benzos in Back Pain (Janos). Head to the website for the articles themselves and all the references and links you need.

 

We're aiminig to make this a regular monthly podcast - let us know if it's useful and enjoyable and how we could make it even more educational.

November 2, 2015  

When things go wrong - the difficult conversation at St.Emlyn’s

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Simon and Nat talk about how to have that tricky conversation when you have to tell a colleague that they may have made a mistake.

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S

July 26, 2015  

Core analgesia in the ED. Induction podcast.

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Iain and Simon discuss the core skills that all EM clinicians need to manage pain in the ED.

These are the basics, but don't be put off. The basics are more important than the fancy stuff that we will discuss in a later podcast.

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S

January 18, 2015  

New (or are they really new) Oral Anticoagulants and the Emergency Physician PART 1

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Rick Body and Kerstin de Wit discuss the role of NOACs in clinical management. Part 1 addresses the basics, stuff you should know if you are prescribing these drugs.

Part 1 tells us the good stuff, don't forget to listen to 2 and 3 in the next few weeks as not everything is perfect ;-)

Check out the BLOG POST HERE
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R