Please note you cannot make a REACH call to the Clinical Excellence Commission.

If you are worried about a patient in hospital, first talk to your nurse or doctor. If you are still worried, ask to speak to the nurse in charge and request a 'clinical review'. If you are still worried, call your hospital's REACH number. You can find the number on posters or flyers at your hospital.

REACH is not in all hospitals in NSW, but staff are still there to help you.

Patient, carer and family escalation

REACH is a system that helps patients, carer/s, and their family to escalate their concerns with staff about worrying changes in a patient's condition. It stands for Recognise, Engage, Act, Call, Help is on its way. REACH was developed by the Clinical Excellence Commission in collaboration with local health districts and consumers.

It builds on the surf lifeā€saving analogy for recognition and appropriate care of deteriorating patients by encouraging patients, carer/s, and their families to 'put their hands in the air' to signal they need help. This is consistent with the emergency response systems already in use in NSW Health services.

REACH actively promotes partnership between patients, carer/s, their family, and the treating team, in recognising and escalating deterioration. It encourages patients, carer/s, and their family to initially engage with their nurse or medical team, if they are concerned that 'something is not right'. If they continue to be worried they can then escalate their concerns by requesting a 'clinical review' knowing that this should occur within 30 minutes.

Finally, if they are still concerned, an independent review or 'rapid response' can be activated by the patient, carer, or family by calling a unique number made available by the facility. REACH casts the safety net wider by empowering consumers to 'speak up for safety' and provides assurance that help is on its way.

REACH aligns with the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights and National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (version 2), in particular standard 2 (Partnering with Consumers) and standard 8 (Recognising and Responding to Acute Deterioration). Action 8.7 requires that "the health service organisation has processes for patients, carers or families to directly escalate care."

Implementing REACH

The REACH Toolkit was updated in May 2022 to support local healthcare teams to start and sustain a quality improvement (QI) project. The toolkit includes step by step guides to solve small or large problems using QI methodology.

Please note that REACH is a registered trademark of the CEC.