Hospital model to reduce stays, meet needs and change lives
BUNDABERG Hospital has developed a new model of care that aims to meet the needs of patients, reduce lengths of stay and change lives.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) and their Integrated Care Access Team (iCAT) created the model using a holistic approach, to prevent repeat emergency admissions, manage community wellness and treat patients suffering from chronic illnesses.
The Integrated Care model will offer flexible and multidisciplinary care to patients from the comfort of their home and will help to reduce preventable hospital admissions.
Made up of many different areas, the team will include and cover nurse practitioners, nurse navigators, diabetes education, aged care assessment, rehabilitation, Hospital In The Home, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics and speech pathology.
WBHHS board chair Peta Jamieson said the new model allows for early intervention and encourages patients to manage their conditions at home where possible and take steps to improve their health and wellbeing.
"The iCAT model is all about providing the right care, at the right time, in the right place (and) acknowledging that this sometimes isn't inside the walls of a hospital," Ms Jamieson said.
"By delivering proactive and agile care to patients with chronic diseases, iCAT aims to reduce overall preventable hospital admissions and also manage conditions earlier so they don't end up as acute presentations down the track.
"Given our region has higher proportions of older people and incidences of chronic illness than state averages, modern models of care like these are crucial."
Chief executive Debbie Carroll said the iCAT model aims to ensure the needs of patients are being met in an environment where they are most comfortable, while ensuring hospital can accommodate more acute cases.
"Up until now, we've probably tended to think hospital care first, community care after, but under this model, we want to be thinking of iCAT first, if appropriate, and hospital care only if it's necessary," Ms Carroll said.
"As well as having clinicians with different areas of expertise working together in a planned approach with the patient in their own home as much as possible, iCAT can identify other needs, especially if they are socially isolated.
"That may mean helping them to arrange appointments with their GP, checking that their social needs are being met, linking them with services that deliver scripts to their home or making sure they have the help they need to get their groceries."
The hospital has applauded the iCAT team for their rapid response during the COVID-19 pandemic, after providing support to patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Estimated to have rates 25% higher than the state average, Wide Bay has the highest number of COPD cases in Australia.
Acting operations director for iCAT Jacqueline Haskew said the team were grateful for the positive response received from patients during this time.
"The agility of our iCAT service meant were able to contact 462 high risk COPD patients in the Wide Bay in a two-week period which ensured their safety and wellness was supported throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," iCAT Acting Operations Director Jacqueline Haskew said.
"In addition to this work, our team also proactively supported 361 of our most chronic and complex patients in the Wide Bay region with Integrated Care management plans to support hospital avoidance."
Despite usually seeing a spike in COPD cases during the Winter months, iCAT's hard work has led to a decrease of presentations in the Wide Bay Hospital emergency departments.
The team is also looking to work alongside local general practitioners, aged care facilities, QAS and other health stakeholders to deliver the model and patient-centred care.