‘When you work for a not-for-profit hospital that has a set of values like this . . . it’s quite a joy.’ Dr Michael Ben-Meir, director of emergency at Cabrini, is proud of the hospital’s record.
The Alan, Ada and Eva Selwyn Emergency Department at Cabrini Malvern sees more than 23,000 patients a year and receives the largest number of ambulances – more than 5000 – of any private hospital in the country. The department does so with a conviction that every person will receive the swiftest, most compassionate and professional care – and after care – available. When illness or injury, the misfortune of misadventure or the concern of severe pain come calling, the emergency department we find ourselves in can be crucial to our recovery.
Dr Michael Ben-Meir, Director of Emergency at Cabrini for seven years, proudly puts his facility at the forefront of care. A wealth of senior doctors with emergency experience, relative to public hospitals, translates to early, high-level decision making, complemented by 35 groups of oncall specialists who are accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “If you need a neurologist, a cardiothoracic surgeon or a neurosurgeon, if you need urgent surgery for an appendix, they’re all on call for us, ”Dr Ben-Meir says. “We can access operating theatres any time of day or night. “We have some of the top specialists in the country working here in their particular fields. To be able to work with them and refer patients directly to them, it’s a great joy.”
In any emergency speed is paramount. Patients considering Cabrini for emergency care can go to the hospital website and see in real time how many people are waiting to be seen at the department and the estimated waiting time. Analysis shows the figures to be within a 10-minute range on more than 90 per cent of occasions. Access to resources such as pathology and radiology similarly reduces delays, with Dr Ben-Meir reporting that 99 per cent of blood tests, for example, are back with an hour.
At the heart of Cabrini’s service is “wrap around care”, where patients aren’t forgotten once they’ve gone home and a next-day phone call is made to ensure that diagnosis, treatment and recovery are all going to plan. “Time is an excellent delineator of illness and we need to watch and see which way it goes. We want to make sure you’re getting better, that the plan we’ve made has stuck, that you’ve been able to make the appointment with the specialist or physio or whoever we’ve referred you on to. “If you’re getting worse, we ask you to come back. These are services most emergency departments don’t offer. We feel it demonstrates what we say we do, which is care,”Dr Ben-Meir says.
Cabrini’s history dates to 1948 when 10 Italian Cabrini Sisters arrived in Melbourne and established a small hospital on a hill in Malvern. It warms Dr Ben-Meir that the community imperative that inspired them still drives the vastly-expanded Cabrini Hospital today. “When you work for a not-for-profit hospital that has a set of values like this, they are so well aligned with health care. It’s quite a joy to work in an institution where the executive, the board, the staff, patients and all the visiting doctors are perfectly aligned in what they’re trying to achieve. “We provide a high level of emergency medicine and we try to provide it in an environment that’s calm and has a level of care and compassion for our patients that makes them feel very welcome and cared for."