On-call medical support model for residential facilities launched

A new medical outreach service helps aged care residents avoid unnecessary trips to hospital emergency departments.

From left: Dr Anita Green, Janet Morganti, Maxwell Treacy (the first patient to access the service), Dr Gurudev Kewalram, and Rhonda Mead

A new medical outreach service helps aged care residents avoid unnecessary trips to hospital emergency departments.

Under the trial, general practitioners and residential aged care facilities in Brisbane’s north can call a new Geriatric Outreach Assessment Service (GOAS) at The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) for assistance with managing the acute care needs of aged care residents.

Brisbane North PHN board chair Dr Anita Green said the new service aimed to curb the growing number of aged care residents who presented at TPCH for acute healthcare.

“Our data shows there has been a significant increase in aged care residents presenting to the emergency department over the past five years,” Dr Green said.

“We know hospitals have specialist expertise in the treatment of elderly people, but we needed a better way for GPs and aged care residents to access this expertise,” she said.

TPCH geriatrician Dr Gurudev Kewalram said the outreach service meant older patients could receive timely and appropriate medical care without having to leave their home environment.

The initiative follows a call for medical outreach services from aged care providers at an event hosted by Brisbane North PHN last year, which explored how to create improved systems of care (read AAA’s story here).

Service welcomed

The outreach concept is supported by Wesley Mission Queensland director of residential aged care Annie Gibney, who sees its major benefit being for the wellbeing of residents, many of whom have dementia.

“Being taken to a hospital emergency department on a cold trolley in a strange environment away from familiar faces is extremely traumatic,” Ms Gibney told AAA.

“While their GPs are caring, they’re not always accessible in an emergency. So the hospital coming out to us to help will be very timely and helpful to us all.”

She said more than 500 residents across six Wesley Mission Queensland facilities could access the service.

Residential facilities in the hospital’s catchment area can contact the GOAS about any resident who has an acute health condition that they are concerned about.

GOAS will include:

  • medical and nursing review and resident review following hospital discharge
  • management of acute conditions including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, cellulitis, exacerbation of COPD and exacerbation of chronic cardiac failure
  • acute management of behaviour disorders in residents with dementia
  • falls, end-of-life care, clinical support and staff education.

The GOAS is a joint initiative of Metro North Hospital and Health Service and Brisbane North PHN.

The trial will be evaluated after 12 months to determine if it offers a cost-effective service model suitable for regionally consistent implementation across the Metro North region.

Comment below to have your say on this story

Send us your news and tip-offs to editorial@australianageingagenda.com.au 

Subscribe to Australian Ageing Agenda magazine and sign up to the AAA newsletter

Tags: anita-green, annie-gibney, Brisbane North PHN, Geriatric-Outreach-Assessment-Service, Gurudev-Kewalram, medical-outreach, the-prince-charles-hospital, wesley-mission-queensland,

4 thoughts on “On-call medical support model for residential facilities launched

  1. I currently work in a facility that uses this service & it was brilliant!! Seamless teamwork between RACF & Acute care – & best of all great outcome for our resident! Speedy recovery & able to be treated in his community – no stress of transfer or waiting in emergency – just resting comfortably in his own bed receiving the best care with a team approach! This service is definitely needed!!

  2. I am a Registered Nurse working in RACF on Brisbane north side and think this is a wonderful idea, just a couple of questions, what would be the catchment area able to use the service and what hours would the service be available. Redcliffe Hospital runs a similar service with their RCLS (residential care liaison service) but is only available during office hours. A great help with post hospital admission care but usually nurses require assistance with acute symptoms out of hours when the regular GP can not be contacted, After Hours Doctors Service,(AHDS) can take up to 4 hours to respond and the only other option is to send the resident to hospital.

  3. Hi Cheryl, the catchment area for the Geriatric Outreach Assessment Service includes all RACFs that would normally send their residents to The Prince Charles Hospital. It is available Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 4pm. This service is not available in the after-hours period. Kind regards, Simon Brooks (Brisbane North PHN).

  4. The State of Victoria have led the way with “Hospital Admission Risk Programs” over the last decade or more. Residential-in-reach programs have been operating for much of that time. The Local Hospital Networks design them in response to the needs of their RACF and older community/complex care needs so they all run slightly differently but can consist of highly skilled nurses, nurse practitioners, medical staff, allied health, geriatricians, pharmacists and in some cases mental health teams. I applaud the trial of the GOAS for the Brisbane north regions but I am a little disappointed that all the good work in Victoria (historical and current) was not even mentioned in article. The programs are now called “Health Independence Programs” but you can still look up Residential-in- reach to see the services being offered to prevent avoidable hospitalisation, care coordination and complex care management, or to allow an older persons to receive treatment in their location of choice as specified in their advance care plans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *