Utilising capacity in a rural hospital to support older people requiring hospital care: Kilcoy Connect

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Padayachee, Ansuyah
Ranatunga, Cassandra
Comans, Tracy A
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2019
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Abstract

Problem: The increasing specialisation of medical care in larger centres is contributing to the declining use of rural hospitals that are close to larger centres, risking bed closures or even facility closure. Design: An allied health-led model of care supported by telehealth geriatrician services was developed and implemented in eight beds in a rural hospital to manage older patients needing geriatric evaluation and management. Setting: The project was set in Kilcoy Hospital, a small facility north of Caboolture in Queensland, Australia. The feeder hospital was Caboolture Hospital, the regional centre. Key measures for improvement: Occupancy rates at the rural hospital along with length of stay, discharge destination and functional independence measure. Strategies for change: A project officer was employed 1 day a week to facilitate the implementation of the new model of care. Training and education were provided to medical and nursing staff to understand and implement the geriatric evaluation and management model of care. Effects of change: Over the project time frame, 93 patients were successfully managed in the rural hospital with improved occupancy rates. Outcomes were as effective and safe as compared to the group managed at the regional centre. The model of care is now routine practice. Lessons learnt: Using excess capacity in rural hospitals by employing a geriatric evaluation and management approach is a viable strategy to address declining rural hospital usage.

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Australian Journal of Rural Health
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27
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4
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Biomedical and clinical sciences
Health services and systems
Public health
Human society
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Nursing
allied health
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Padayachee, A; Ranatunga, C; Comans, TA, Utilising capacity in a rural hospital to support older people requiring hospital care: Kilcoy Connect, Australian Journal of Rural Health, 2019, 27 (4), pp. 344-350
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