Bundy Hospital focus: Aged care residents clog emergency
EMERGENCY departments across Wide Bay are being clogged by hundreds of nursing home residents being transported for minor incidents.
From July 1, 2017 to March 27, 2018, exactly 605 nursing home residents were taken to Bundaberg Base Hospital's emergency department for "acute incidents”, while 420 residents were transported to Hervey Bay Hospital and 216 to Maryborough Hospital.
It's a stark difference to hospitals in regional areas, including Gympie Hospital, which had 129 residents transported and Gladstone which had 59.
The figures also compare poorly with Brisbane's.
Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the number of aged care facility residents transported to emergency departments by ambulance had sky rocketed over the past three years across the state.
According to MrMiles, from 2017-18 to date there had been an average of 2180 residents a month transported and it was expected the number would increase once flu season arrived.
Queensland Nurses Union Wide Bay organiser Linda Fuller said she was shocked by the figures and agreed it was a problem that needed to be addressed.
"It's quite amazing that somewhere regional like this can have half the amount of such a big metro area,” she said.
"It absolutely says we need more qualified nursing staff in aged care to deliver eyes-on, hands-on assessments and for physical assessments.”
A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said the hospitals treated all the patients who came through its doors and assessed everyone according to their clinical need.
"The Wide Bay region, and the Fraser Coast in particular, has one of the highest rates in Queensland of people aged 65 years and over, coupled with a large number of aged care and nursing home facilities,” they said.
"WBHHS remains committed to working with our partners to provide the best possible care to all our patients and to ensuring we are planning adequately for future demands on our service.”