Community health and residential aged care providers Blue Care and Silver Chain have secured Queensland Government funding to deliver an expanded Hospital in the Home service.
The four-year pilot program to deliver acute services to patients in their own homes represents Queensland’s first community-based public-private partnership.
Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the $28 million increase in government funding will expand existing Hospital in the Home services at Metro North and Metro South Hospital and Health services and set up new services in the Sunshine Coast and Townsville.
Under the pilot patients with skin infections, blood clots in the legs and lungs, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and lung infections will be eligible to receive the free, public-funded service.
Mr Springborg said similar services internationally had been proven to be a viable alternative to hospital admission, providing equal or better patient outcomes than traditional hospital care.
“Blue Care and Silver Chain are highly respected organisations already providing community services in Queensland and Western Australia and they have passed a rigorous selection process to be chosen for the pilot program.”
Cathy Thomas, director services south east at Blue Care, said the partnership would allow Blue Care staff to treat eligible patients for acute conditions in their homes as an alternative to being treated in the hospital.
The Hospital in the Home program was not only more cost effective but it also offered patients greater independence, choice and comfort, Ms Thomas said. “For health and hospital services there’s less demand on hospital beds and it enables the hospital to have increased patient flow,” she added.
Research from other states in Australia and overseas had reported a high level of patient satisfaction. “At home you can cater to a person’s individual needs much better than you can in a hospital setting. It is really exciting to have that option on the table for people to access.”
She said patients could also stay connected to family and friends while receiving treatment at home.
Blue Care, which already has experience providing acute and post-acute services to patients in the community, will begin delivering the Hospital in the Home program this month. It will receive patients from the Brisbane Metro South and Townsville Health and Hospital services. Referral is made by the hospital and to be eligible patients will need to have a carer at home.
It is estimated that more than 5,200 clients accessed Hospital in the Home across Queensland in 2012-2013. Under the expanded pilot Mr Springborg said more than 2,000 additional clients could be admitted to the service each year for the next four years.
Silver Chain has considerable experience delivering the Silver Chain Home Hospital service in Western Australia, which it will bring to the Queensland program, according to Moira Goodwin, Queensland state manager, Silver Chain Group.
Silver Chain will receive patients from Brisbane North and Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Services.