Metro North launches Australia-first service for people with a disability and challenging behaviour

The BERT team are ready to take referrals to their service.

Metro North Health has  implemented an Australia-first initiative, the Behavioural Emergency Response Team (BERT). BERT has been designed to assist people with disability and complex challenging behaviours and their carers to receive the support they need in the right place at the right time.

This interdisciplinary outreach and crisis response team works collaboratively with the person with a disability who has complex and challenging behaviour and their carers and service providers to better manage their behaviours and primary health needs.

People with a disability and complex challenging behaviours are prone to frequent representations to Emergency Departments, and lengthy hospital admissions, often without an acute medical cause, or where an acute medical issue has exacerbated due to lack of access to appropriate and timely healthcare.

The service will operate as a single point of contact for communication, engagement, education and coordination of client care for parents and carers, disability service care staff, local hospital clinicians, QAS officers, GPs, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the Queensland Police Service.

A dedicated team of allied health, nursing and medical professionals aim to prevent unnecessary presentations to emergency through more timely direct access to the appropriate response and care that is close to or within the person’s home. Where admission to hospital is required, BERT works with other services to ensure the admission is as streamlined and as short as possible.

BERT Clinical Lead Jessica Orford said that following many months of planning, the team are excited to bring this much-needed service to life.

“We want to ensure people who have a disability and challenging behaviours receive timely access to healthcare and support to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations,” Jessica said.

“BERT is committed to working with people with a disability and challenging behaviours and their carers and connecting them to the right services, whether that be further medical care or community care in their home.”

The service is available to people living in the Metro North catchment aged between 16-65 with a diagnosed or suspected disability, who are displaying challenging behaviours such as harm to themselves or others, are experiencing a significant escalation of challenging behaviours, frequent ED presentations or where carer supports breakdown is imminent.

Referrals can be made by calling 1300 024 404 to provide client details and a return contact number. Out of hours requests will be responded to on the next business day.

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