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in progress

Development timeline: May 2019 – March 2020

This guidance is open for public consultation. Have your say now!

Submissions close Friday 28 February.

Together with emergency care clinicians we've identified managing behaviours of concern as a priority area to focus on.

Why are we developing this guidance?

Managing patients who display behaviours of concern can be challenging for emergency care clinicians. There is growing concern that these behaviours are happening more often and pose significant safety risks.

We've established an expert working group to help us develop this guidance. They define behaviours of concern as:

‘Patients exhibiting acute behavioural disturbance and displaying agitated or aggressive behaviour. This puts them at risk of causing harm to themselves or other patients, relatives, visitors or staff.’

Our statewide guideline will describe best practice approaches to managing these behaviours and reduce variation in care.

Read more about this project

Scope of guidance

This guidance is intended for managing adult patients who present to emergency departments or urgent care centres, including during transitions of care.

Not in scope

  • Managing paediatric patients
  • Managing patients with a clear organic cause for acute behavioural disturbance, such as dementia, delirium, closed head injury
  • Caring for patients after discharge or transfer from emergency department or urgent care centres
  • Providing clinical guidance to police and pre hospital care*

*While this is out of scope, our guideline may be suitable to adapt.

Expert working group

Dr Thomas Chan (chair) Emergency physician
Director of emergency department
Austin Health
Kristy Austin National standards accreditation lead Ambulance Victoria
Dr Shaun Baxter

Emergency physician

Retrieval physician

Alfred Health

Adult Retrieval Victoria

Paul Burke Clinical practice guideline development specialist Ambulance Victoria
Dr Simon Craig Emergency physician Monash Health
Jo Colvin Emergency department alcohol and other drug nurse practitioner Latrobe Regional Hospital
Sim Crawford Lived experience of behaviours of concern in emergency care settings Consumer
Dr Dan Crompton

Emergency physician
Director of emergency services

Retrieval physician
Director of education and training

Bass Coast Health (Wonthaggi hospital)

Adult Retrieval Victoria

John Cunning Clinical nurse specialist (psychiatry)
Associate director of nursing
Benalla Health
Dr Cathy Daniel

Consultation liaison nurse

Co-ordinator of postgraduate mental health nursing

Royal Melbourne Hospital

University of Melbourne

Claire Doherty Project lead, emegency care clinical network Safer Care Victoria
Daniel Eltringham Emergency department drug and alcohol care co-ordinator Bendigo Health
James Fowler Clinincal fellow, emergency care clinical network Safer Care Victoria
Kate James Emergency department clinical nurse specialist  Werribee Mercy
Cristina Roman Emergency department pharmacist Alfred Health
Frances Sanders Senior care advisor, DHHS office of the chief mental health nurse Consumer
Penny Whelan Emergency department nurse unit manager Goulburn Valley Health


Get in touch

James Fowler
Safer Care Victoria
03 9096 7770

Page last updated: 03 Feb 2020

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