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It is estimated that 17 per cent of NQPHN’s population are over 65 years old (50 years old for First Nations peoples). As people get older, it is more likely they will need aged care services. However, the aged care system is complex and some people find it more difficult than others to navigate and access the services they need.

Similarly, when people need to move into a residential aged care home (RACH), they are moving into a care system that is facing challenges. For this reason, NQPHN has a number of commissioning initiatives to improve older persons care in the community and in RACHs.

Commissioning priorities for 2023 -2024 are:

  • Telehealth in RACHs

  • RACH out of hours plans

  • Dementia HealthPathways and Consumer Resources

Early intervention is supported by NQPHN's five year Chronic Conditions Strategy that will underpin system integration and innovation, workforce development, and primary care engagement for more effective chronic condition primary care service delivery.

Supporting RACH staff to increase availability and use of telehealth care for aged care residents promotes timely access to primary health care professionals where face-to-face consultation is not possible. RACHs require adequate telehealth facilities to support access to virtual consultations for residents. 

This initiative assists participating RACHs to have appropriate telehealth equipment to enable their residents to virtually consult with medical specialists, GPs, and other clinicians.

This commissioned service also funds the training of RACH staff on how to use the telehealth facilities and provide support to residents in accessing virtual consultation services.

In early 2023 Enkindle consulting met with a majority of RACHs in our region to consult and map existing telehealth infrastructures.

To learn more about the free HealthDirect Video Call software please refer to our factsheet here.

To register your RACH Video Call account click here.

NQPHN is introducing a Residential Aged Care Home (RACH) bed tracker system. Each quarter NQPHN will prompt all RACHs within the NQPHN catchment to update their key data around bed capacity. 

This data will be shared with our local Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) to aid in the understanding of system-wide bed capacity within each HHS catchment area, including the expected wait time for transfers of patients to RACHs.

By implementing and maintaining such a system, NQPHN aims to contribute to improving the exchange of key information to support older persons health across northern Queensland. 

Launch the RACH Bed Tracker now.

RACH residents can experience deterioration in their health during the after hours period, however, immediate transfer to hospital is not always clinically necessary. Lack of awareness and utilisation of out-of-hours services provided by GPs and other health professionals leads residents to unnecessary hospital presentations. 

Therefore, it is important to support RACHs to enhance out-of-hours supports and after hours plans.

NQPHN will work with the RACHs in our region to enhance the out-of-hours support for participating RACHs. We will assist RACHs to develop appropriate after hours plans, educate their staff on after hours healthcare options and processes for residents, encourage the implementation of procedures to keep residents' digital medical records up-to-date, particularly following an episode where after hours care was required, and support the engagement between RACHs, GPs, and other health professionals in developing an after hours action plan.

This initiative supports primary care practitioners' access to the HealthPathways tool, promotes best practice care, enhances local clinicians' awareness of referral options and services, improves collaboration and integration of healthcare systems, and develops consumer-focused dementia support pathway resources.

Please visit your local HealthPathways site for more information.

Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia, with Dementia Australia reporting that the incidence of dementia is predicted to double by 2054. Early diagnosis of dementia is extremely important to delay progression of the disease and premature entry to RACHs.

Older persons need better access to support services and assistance to navigate the complex system through which care is required. 

In 2023, NQPHN delivered an online virtual Dementia resource for consumers to access. This resource geolocates to the consumers location and provides a list of key services and resources around them to support them with their care.

Visit My Community Directory to learn more about dementia and resources available in your area. 

22 May 2024

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