Clinicians at one of Australia’s largest hospitals have developed a medical initiative, Hospital in the Nursing Home Program, that has proven successful in keeping elderly aged care residents out of hospitals and lowering emergency visit demands.
"The program led to an average 17 per cent decrease in aged care patients presenting to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Emergency Department, a 36 per cent drop in hospital admissions per emergency presentation and an overall 47 per cent decrease in hospital admissions," said Dr. Bill Lukin, Dual Emergency and Palliative Care Staff Specialist at RBWH. "That's about one ward of elderly people each month who are no longer being admitted to hospital.”
Dr. Lukin led the research team to evaluate the impacts of the program that was implemented across aged care facilities that care for more than 2,000 elderly patients.
Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles found that many elderly patients were being sent to the ER by aged care homes for relatively routine procedures including:
- changing catheters
- wound care
- providing blood transfusions.
The program has seen a reduction in patients coming in for those routine procedures and have also proved to be beneficial financially and for all hospital patients.
"We also found the program is cost-effective, delivering Royal Brisbane about AU$8 million a year in economic benefits after costs or a return of $17 for every $1 invested,” said Dr. Lukin. “Most importantly, getting treatment at home is almost always better for an elderly patient."
Director of EMF Dr. Anthony Bell said that this research would enable vital emergency medical resources to be spread more effectively across the board.
"Emergency and hospital beds are freed up and older patients are not unnecessarily coming into an unfamiliar and often stressful environment."
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