People’s desire to stay in the home for longer is increasing the demand for community nurses.
At 87 years old, Jack has had his fair share of challenges in life. He explains nonchalantly that he got through the war pretty well, recalling wistfully his three lengthy tours of duty and the fact that many of his mates got “banged up pretty badly”.
He was an air gunner on a Beaufort Bomber and saw action in many parts of the world. Ironically though, it was his love of rugby, skiing and golf that has required him to undergo four knee operations and two hip replacements.
He endured those procedures with the same resilience that got him through the war unscathed and enabled him to run a successful importing business in Sydney for many years. And his resilience has been tested again in recent times. It started with a fall in the middle of the night, one from which he couldn’t pick himself up and for which the ambulance was called.
“Once the ambos are called, it’s hospital,” Jack quips. It began a series of trying events that ultimately saw him in hospital for a long period of time.
Multiple scans and a battery of other tests revealed a number of clots on Jack’s brain, for which he needed urgent cranial surgery. Jack points to the fine, faint line on his forehead, as he sits in the sun in the garden of his home in Sydney’s northern suburbs. In the background, boats zigzag their way across the harbour and Jack relaxes on the back veranda of the house that he and wife Von bought in 1960.
He says that it was a long and testing episode for both of them. Four hospitals in eight weeks, he explains matter of factly, with Von travelling through Sydney traffic multiple times a week to support him.
“I just wanted to get home!” says Jack.
And home he was able to come, once the threat of his initial situation had been addressed. But he needed support to get there, and Von needed support as well.
At the suggestion of the hospital discharge planner, and under the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Community Nursing Program, Jack did come home. Waiting to assist him was Kim and her colleagues from Royal District Nursing Service.
It’s new territory for RDNS, the first time in New South Wales. It’s new territory for Kim as well, who had previously worked in hospitals but was looking for something that would provide deeper involvement with clients and more continuity of care.
Kim and her colleagues visit Jack everyday and have also linked him into podiatry and physiotherapy services. He has improved greatly, growing stronger with each visit, but there is still more work to do, and Kim will be there to do it.
“She’s a wonderful girl, this Kim,” says Jack, acknowledging that without the help of Kim and her colleagues, life would be very different.
Jack is one of 34,907 clients that have been able to hold on to some of their independence as a result of receiving care from RDNS.
Showing that demand for home nursing and healthcare continues to rise, figures released in the 2010 Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Annual Report shows that in the 2009-10 financial year, the organisation made 1,818,305 client visits.
The report, says CEO Dan Romanis, confirms that healthcare delivered in people’s homes continues to play a critical role in the healthcare landscape.
“RDNS services promote independence and choice for clients and are integral to reducing demand in our public hospitals,” Romanis says.
“As the push towards self-management and care provided outside of hospital settings continues, the care we deliver becomes even more important.”
RDNS staff provide professional nursing and healthcare to more people throughout Greater Melbourne, some parts of rural Victoria, New South Wales and in Auckland.
* 34,907 clients received care from RDNS
* RDNS staff provided 697,363 hours of care to clients
* RDNS clients originated from 154 countries
* Public hospitals accounted for most referrals – 38.1%, followed by general practitioners at 9%
* RDNS New Zealand made 71,027 visits to 1,067 clients.Do you have an idea for a story?
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