The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal Commission) identified several areas that affect aged care residents and our health system including:
- limited access to general practitioners (GPs) and allied health professionals in aged care facilities
- difficulties accessing out of hours services
- unnecessary hospital transfers.
To address this, we are funding Primary Health Networks to improve these areas. This approach supports the Aged Care Quality Standards and will help build better integration between aged care providers and our healthcare system. As PHNs know the local aged care health and service needs they can use this knowledge to best support aged care facilities.
Help to access telehealth
PHNs will help aged care facilities set up telehealth equipment so residents can consult health professionals virtually. Additionally, sharing healthcare information to platforms like My Health Record helps residents keep their medical history up to date.
Residential aged care staff will have training in these services, so residents receive the best care possible with GPs, specialists and allied health professionals.
Help to develop after-hours action plans
Immediate transfer to hospital is not always needed if a resident’s condition deteriorates. PHNs will help facilities develop action plans to ensure residents can use the best out-of-hours medical services and avoid hospitalisation where possible.
PHNs will help guide and support facilities to develop after-hours plans that raise awareness of care options and ensure residents’ medical information remains current. PHNs funding adds to:
- training and support of staff on after-hours care options
- maintaining residents’ online medical records.
PHNs will work with and inform residential aged care facilities on these activities during their development over the coming months.
Expanding program activities will soon include:
- activities to support healthy ageing
- information for providers and consumers on referral pathways for people with dementia
- aged care clinical referral pathways.