Through telehealth, Adelaide PHN steps up efforts to increase access to health care for the elderly
Wednesday, March 15 2023
Adelaide Primary Health Network (Adelaide PHN) is commissioning telehealth services through the Telehealth in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) program to improve access to health care for the elderly in its region.
According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, telehealth has been transformational and critical to the continuity of care of thousands of Australian patients living in rural and remote areas and in the cities. It is cost effective, convenient, safe, and reduces the risks of infections among immune-compromised population, including the elderly.
Adelaide PHN’s telehealth program in residential aged care facilities builds on two recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety which identifies the delivery of specialist and primary health services through telehealth. In addition, aged care providers have access to the necessary equipment and training to support clinical staff to facilitate these services.
Recommendation 63 requires the Australian Government to “expand…telehealth services to older people receiving personal care at home…and aged care providers (to deliver) residential care or personal care at home to have the necessary equipment and clinically and culturally capable staff to support telehealth services.”
Recommendation 68 requires the Australian Government to “ensure that every approved provider of aged care delivering personal care or clinical care uses a digital care management system meeting a standard set by the Australian Digital Health Agency and interoperable with My Health Record, invites each person receiving aged care from the provider to consent to their care records being made accessible on My Health Record, and if the person consents, places that person’s care records.”
We are delivering a program that empowers stakeholders across the primary and aged care systems to effectively utilise telehealth to deliver the best quality care to the elderly,” Wendy Dolejs, Executive Manager Integration said.
The program further supports the findings of Adelaide PHN’s data which identified four key barriers that limit older people’s access to quality health care. They are;
- limited access to information and uncoordinated care models;
- lack of skilled and empowered workforce;
- lack of timely, accessible, and coordinated primary care services; and
- lack of access and support from palliative care services.
This programs seeks to build the capability of RACFs, GPs, allied health, and specialists to provide telehealth services which prevent, diagnose, and treat a variety of health conditions. The program will also support elderly residents to ensure that they are comfortable and confident to use telehealth. Resulting in improved health outcomes among the elderly, reducing pressure on hospitals by preventing hospitalisation and use of emergency care services.
"This needs-based response will help us further improve health outcomes of senior Australians while embedding telehealth across primary, tertiary, and aged care sectors,” Wendy added.
Five aged care organisations comprising 26 facilities have already been awarded funds as part of the first phase of the grant rollout and are set to commence training for staff in the coming weeks.
The next funding round for the program will open in March 2023. Interested organisations can apply for funding up to $7,500 (GST exclusive) for each eligible facility, and are encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 8219 5900 to discuss this grant further.
Aged care is a national priority area for Adelaide PHN. Telehealth in RACF is an addition to the fleet of programs we have designed to improve health outcomes of elderly. To learn more, click here.