Elderly patients get dedicated, faster care in Rockingham

Elderly patients get dedicated, faster care in Rockingham

ROCKINGHAM’S elderly patients are getting dedicated, faster care at the hospital’s new Urgent Care Clinic (UCC).

While Royal Perth Hospital has clinics for drug affected patients, other hospitals are looking to the Rockingham example because it is the first to offer such a clinic for older patients.

In fact, 70 percent of patients in the Rockingham UCC were referred there from the hospital’s Emergency Department, freeing up ED beds and potentially cutting waiting times for all patients.

The clinic has treated more than 750 elderly patients who were considered to be at risk of significant deterioration.

A need for the UCC in the Rockingham area was identified and the dedicated clinic was set up last October.

Helen Thomas is the Head of Department for Aged Care, Rehabilitation and Neurology at Rockingham General Hospital and said the population in Rockingham was ageing, with more than 22 per cent of residents over 65 years of age.

The UCC caters for people in this age group who do not require a hoist to move around and whose medical conditions are not too acute.

“In 2017, 18 per cent of our Emergency Department presentations were by people over 65 years of age,” Dr Thomas said.

“A significant proportion of these patients did not require admission to the hospital, but did require a comprehensive health and social care assessment.”

In a one-stop-shop scenario, the UCC is staffed by a consultant geriatrician, clinical nurse, physiotherapist and occupational therapist and the team has access to social work, dietetics and speech pathology teams.

“Often older people have difficulty navigating our health and social care systems,” Dr Thomas said.

“This innovation is one step towards improving the connection between hospital and primary health care and ensuring timely access to appropriate care for older people.”

The Urgent Care Clinic is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.