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More schools to benefit from expanded P.A.R.T.Y. Program

14 September 2016    

Trial program successfully teaches students the traumatic consequences of risky behaviour

A program to educate students about the traumatic consequences of risky behaviour will soon reach double the number of South Australian school students thanks to a partnership with leading insurer, AAMI.

The P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth) Program, gives students access to the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit where they are shown the graphic effects of risk-related behaviour such as drinking, drug use and texting while driving.

The Program, sponsored by AAMI, is currently conducted at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and will be expanded over the next two years to include the Lyell McEwin Hospital at Elizabeth as well as being taken to students in country areas of South Australia.

It is anticipated it will double in size from 26 school tours a year to more than 50.

This follows a successful 18-month trial of the program at the RAH, during which staff have run 38 programs attended by more than 920 students from 27 schools, both public and private.

In 2015, more than 19,000 young people aged 16 to 24 – almost one in three - who presented to South Australian hospitals did so as a result of traumatic injuries.

In 2015, 155 young South Australians aged 16 to 24 were seriously injured as a result of a road crash. In the past five years, 2011-2015, 76 young people aged 16 to 24 died as a result of road trauma on South Australian roads.

P.A.R.T.Y. Program Coordinator, Lani Hargrave, says taking part can be confronting for students.

“We bring the students into a real resuscitation room within the emergency department. They watch a mock scenario run by our staff where they are faced with the vivid, clinical reality of trauma.

“They then head up to the intensive care unit where we put them through an intense CPR scenario,” Ms Hargrave says.

“They also get an insight into what their life may be like if they survive a traumatic injury but are physically or mentally impaired, and the impact that will have on them, their friends and their families.

“We’re hoping these students go away and both think about what they’ve seen, and also talk about it with their friends and families.

“If this program saves just one life, then we’re making a real difference.”

Minister for Substance Abuse, Leesa Vlahos, says: “Despite improvements in our road toll over recent years and an overall reduction in the number of young people who die or are severely injured on our roads or through risky behaviour no-one can afford to be complacent as there is always more work to do.

“AAMI’s commitment to the PARTY Program is a wonderful addition to State Government programs to educate and protect our youth and we welcome their involvement, and support, in this invaluable program.”

During the program, students get to experience the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, a triage scenario, as well as rehabilitation activities such as physiotherapy and speech pathology.

They also hear from a trauma survivor who explains and demonstrates first-hand the consequences of risky behaviour.

Each student who takes part in the course is provided with a free voucher to take part in the AAMI Skilled Drivers Course once they have received their driver’s licence.

MEDIA CONTACTS: John Hancock (Royal Adelaide Hospital) on 0434 072 857
Mark Williams (Hughes Public Relations) on 0401 147 558