On-call medical support for aged care facilities

A new medical outreach service will help elderly aged care residents in Chermside and surrounding suburbs avoid unnecessary trips to the Emergency Department. 

Under the trial, General Practitioners (GPs) and residential aged care facilities (RACFs) can call a new Geriatric Outreach Assessment Service 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 was aimed at curbing the growing number of aged care residents who present 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.

At nearly 43,500 persons in 2014, TPCH’s catchment area has the largest population group aged over 65 years within Metro North Hospital and Health Service region.

TPCH Geriatrician, Dr Gurudev Kewalram said it is important elderly patients receive appropriate care to help reduce unnecessary trips to the Emergency Department.

“This new outreach service will mean the older patient can receive timely medical care without having to leave their own environment,” Dr Kewalram said. 

The outreach concept has the full support of Annie Gibney, Director of Residential Aged Care at Wesley Mission Queensland, and will benefit many of the organisation’s residents who reside in the Wheller Gardens precinct, located a short distance from TPCH.

Ms Gibney was pleased to launch the new service at Wheller Gardens and said the comfort, care and wellbeing of residents was her primary concern.

“At Wesley Mission we take pride in our ability to offer care and compassion, while promoting choice, independence and community wellbeing,” Ms Gibney said.

“This new medical outreach service will ensure better support for the GPs who care for our residents,” she said.

The Geriatric Outreach Assessment Service will be available Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 4pm and 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.