Identification of barriers to safe and timely discharges when working with 16-17 year old patients in an Adult Tertiary Hospital

Mrs Alison Maclean1

1Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group, Perth, Australia

The aim of this study is to gain an understanding of the barriers faced by Social Workers when working with 16-17 year olds in an adult emergency department.

This study is based on a review of social work data from Allied Health System (AHS) and from entries from the medical records. We will report on the source of referral and reason for referral to Social Work, with the aim of addressing specifics such as parental responsibilities/rights and the implications of this when there is family conflict.

We will consider other barriers to discharging in relation to engaging this patient group with age appropriate community resources when returning or re-engaging with their family is not an option.

It is anticipated that the study results will highlight the complexity surrounding the “mature minor status” and the need to have a clearly defined protocol for consultation in determining the “mature minor status”.


Alison MacLean is a Social Work Manager at Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park Health Care Group in Perth.  She manages a team of Social Workers in clinical areas that include the Emergency Department, Intensive Care and Surgical areas.

Alison’s area of specialist clinical practice is with patients, families and donors in the work up for liver and renal transplantations.


In addition, Alison’s passion is meeting the needs of Carer’s as well as Aboriginal patients from remote communities. Another interest for Alison is Family Domestic Violence, which she has been researching, as well as being the health services representative on Family Domestic Violence Committees and Steering Groups.


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