ARV is a department of Ambulance Victoria and provides clinical coordination, retrieval and critical care services. The service has a 24-hour phone line (1300 36 86 61), through which clinicians can request advice and/or a retrieval. For routine ARV referrals, clinicians can refer to ARV electronically via REACH – https://reach.vic.gov.au
What we do
Our critical care coordinators are available to advise on the clinical care of critically ill patients 24 hours a day and can provide advice irrespective of whether a retrieval is required. Telehealth advise and support via videoconferencing is a component of this work. ARV provides support for numerous Ambulance Victoria clinical systems through interaction between ARV coordinators and AV frontline staff.
We evaluate the practicality and clinical needs involved in transferring a critically ill or time critical patient from the source hospital. When a transfer is necessary, we organise transport and the appropriate clinical staff to accompany the patient and arrange a suitable critical care bed at the receiving hospital. These roles are supported by advanced IT platforms developed by ARV including the ARVIS system
We liaise closely with public and private hospital critical care units (ICU/HDU/CCU/ED) to facilitate access to critical care beds when required. We monitor the availability of critical care beds in the state and seek to optimise the use of critical care resources. ARV manages the Retrieval and Critical Health (REACH) Website and its incident management components.
ARV manages this service, providing direct clinical advice and connecting referral hospitals to appropriate receiving trauma services. ARV will also facilitate early activation of retrieval systems where required, ensuring major trauma patients reach a trauma service rapidly. ARV and Monash University Research in this area has demonstrated significant improvements in system processes and clinical outcomes related to the retrieval coordination of major trauma transfers.
ARV has systems for induction and training of all staff groups, including 6 month certification processes for clinical staff. This is a formal educational program and ensures clinical staff reach specialist practitioner competency. Research activity is supported with a range of projects and publications produced regularly.
Related to the trauma coordination role, ARV has an important role in the delivery of trauma system guidelines and Trauma education on behalf of the State Trauma Committee and DHHS.
ARV is responsible for the governance systems constructed for the adult retrieval service. Formal systems are in place for Clinical Practices including guidelines, staff credentialing, scope of practice and performance management, quality management and improvement, audit, incident and adverse event management and corporate governance including budget, insurance, risk, regulatory compliance and planning.
ARV uses a mixed model of retrieval crewing, with paramedics, critical care nurses and physicians working together to provide the right level of care for every patient. Our doctors are emergency physicians, anaesthetists or intensivists and are always teamed with paramedics. Many ARV retrievals are performed by highly qualified and experienced MICA, MICA Flight paramedics and Flight paramedics.
There are a number of different roles available at Adult Retrieval Victoria.
ARV employs advanced registrars in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics or Intensive Care for six-month, full-time positions at our metro base commencing February and August each year. Reporting to the ARV Clinical Lead, the primary role of these positions is to provide advanced clinical care during acute inter-hospital transfer of critically ill patients.
Critical care consultants (Emergency, Intensive Care, Anaesthetics) are employed in coordination and retrieval roles. Comprehensive induction is provided and roles require a commitment of at least one shift per week.
Administrative Support Officers
ARV employs administrative staff in call taking and office support roles. Retrieval Administration Support Officers (RASOs) are involved in acute case management, providing assistance to our consultant coordinators.
All clinical enquiries and requests for service (via phone or internet) go straight to ARV’s call takers,), who obtain basic case information then connect the caller with an ARV physician critical care coordinator.
The e-referral form can be completed by the referring physician, nurse or clerical staff.
Phone Referral education
If you require immediate advice or support, escalate to your local response team or system immediately, and call ARV on 1300 36 86 61.
The ARV e-referral form collects of all the information an ARV call taker would request from the referring person when making a phone referral in addition to a brief patient history. ARV will respond to an e-referral within 15 minutes.
Education and Research
Research is integral to Adult Retrieval Victoria achieving its vision of improving the health of our community.
Trauma Victoria is an education-based system for support of clinical guidelines and knowledge related to major trauma care. It is auspiced by DHHS and the State Trauma Committee and is managed by ARV.
ARV has systems for induction and training of all staff groups, including six month certification processes for clinical staff. This is a formal educational program and ensures clinical staff reach specialist practitioner competency. Research activity is supported with a range of projects and publications produced regularly.
Preparation for Retrieval & Transfer
Preparation for retrieval from a referral site can commence early in the clinical scenario. It is approached methodically and thoroughly. Guidelines and checklists are provided by ARV:
ARV Reference Manual – ARV publishes a manual which is primarily intended for guidance of ARV retrieval staff. It outlines many aspects of retrieval coordination and clinical practice. It should be read in conjunction with all Ambulance Victoria Clinical Practice Guidelines.
ARV Incident Report – This document forms the basis to resolve any issues, unusual situations or variations to normal practice relating to adult retrieval services across the state.