Blue Mountains High Dependency Unit
The Blue Mountains High Dependency Unit is an integral part of the Blue Mountains District Anzac Memorial Hospital (BMDAMH) in Katoomba, NSW, Australia. The BMDAMH is an 81 bed acute general and surgical, obstetric, paediatric hospital which includes 18 rehabilitation and 2 palliative care beds. It is part of the Sydney West Area Health Service (SWAHS), which is responsible for maximising the health of people living in the areas serviced by hospitals west to Portland and east to Auburn.
Part of the unique charm of the hospital is the fact that it is built in the centre of the Blue Mountains National park. This park is part of the massive Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The area, which was inscribed on the World Heritage list in December 2000, covers one million hectares – around twice the size of Brunei. Half of it is wilderness and it is a very popular tourist destination.
The High Dependency Unit (HDU) is a highly specialised and discrete ward within the BMDAMH consisting of 4 beds. It is specially equipped for Critical Care and is staffed by specialist nursing and medical practitioners. The HDU is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the care of the critically ill. Under the leadership of the Nurse Unit Manager Nick Delbridge the HDU has a unique combination of highly skilled nurses delivering professional care with the friendly atmosphere found only in a small, specialised unit.
Objectives of the HDU
- To provide patients with the best care by concentrating the specialised facilities and equipment into a single unit and maximise the use of the equipment.
- To limit morbidity and mortality.
- To educate and train health care personnel in the provision of care to the seriously ill and influence overall standards and attitudes.
- To provide an ongoing education program for Medical, Nursing and Paramedical staff in the concepts and practices of critical care management.
- To further the knowledge of disease process by Clinical Research.
- To educate patients in preventative medicine and make them aware of the services available to them both inside and outside the hospital.
- To maintain good communication between HDU staff and other hospital areas.
- To provide technical expertise to the hospital at large.
Admission to the HDU
Being a medical / surgical HDU the casemix is wide and varied. Examples of common indications for admission are:
- Haemodynamically instability
- Acute Myocardial Infarction
- Cardiac Arrhythmias / Unstable Angina / Heart Failure
- Post Operative major surgery
- Acute exacerbation of respiratory pathology (Asthma / CAL)
- Drug Overdoses
- Procedures such as Cardioversion, Sleep Studies etc.
In general the HDU will accept patients whose condition requires close observation, the possibility of immediate resuscitation, cardiac monitoring or whose acuity is such that a high level of nursing care is required, which is not available in a general ward. Intubated and ventilated patients remain in the HDU only while immediate resuscitation is being undertaken and while arrangements are made for transfer to the Nepean Intensive Care or other metropolitan Intensive Care Units. Patients are however routinely treated in the HDU with mask CPAP and BiPAP.
Links with the Nepean ICU
The BMDAMH High Dependency Unit and the Nepean Intensive Care Unit have had an informal program of staff exchange for several years now. In this exchange a member of the HDU nursing staff will work for several weeks in the Intensive Care Unit aiming to acquire or maintain skills in caring for critically ill patients on ventilators, CVVHD and other modalities of treatment not available in BMDAMH. A staff member from the Nepean Intensive Care Unit will work in the HDU aiming to learn the skills and techniques of a small but very skilled specialty area. Areas new to staff in the Nepean Intensive Care area include care of the Acute Myocardial Infarct patient (catered for in Nepean in a specialty Cardiology Unit) and care of patients undergoing Sleep Studies.
Contact the BMDAMH HDU
Phone (Australia): 02 47846524
Phone (Outside Australia): +61 247846524