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Aged care resident Alexina Clarke, who was cared for by the GOAS team. Photo: Multimedia Sauce

Medical outreach keeping Queensland residents out of hospital

Nursing homes in Brisbane North have opened their doors to a medical outreach service to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions – and the numbers are in.

The Geriatric Outreach Assessment Service (GOAS) was trialled over 12 months in 24 residential aged care facilities across The Prince Charles Hospital catchment.

An internal evaluation of the service showed the team delivered 960 episodes of care (an average of four per day), of which two-thirds were considered to have potentially prevented ED presentations.

Michele Smith, executive manager for aged and community care at Brisbane North PHN, said the hospital treatment averted by GOAS would have cost the Queensland Government anywhere from $3.5 to $4.3m.

“By comparison, our pilot project cost $746,000, inclusive of set up expenses, and we expect GOAS will cost just $464,000 per year to run on an ongoing basis,” Smith said.

Surveys with consumers showed that almost all (98 per cent) would be likely to recommend the service to others, while all providers who responded and 87 per cent of GPs said the same thing.

The GOAS team also provided over 400 training sessions to upskill the more than 3,000 aged care staff at the participating facilities.

Dr Elizabeth Whiting, Metro North HHS executive director of clinical services, said surveys showed most aged care workers felt more confident in managing an acutely unwell resident.

Smith said: “Our evaluation confirms GOAS provides responsive, high quality and person-centred medical care at the right time and in the right place.”

The team recommended the service be expanded across all hospitals in Brisbane North.

Australian Government funding from the PHN covered approximately two-thirds of project costs, with the Metro North HHS providing the balance.

While Whiting said more time is needed to assess the long-term effects of GOAS on acute care, she added Metro North HHS will continue to offer it as part of its Residential Aged Care Assessment and Referral (RADAR) Service.

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One comment

  1. Thank you to Alexina for sharing her story.

    And GOAS, delivering quality person-centred healthcare to older people in aged care facilities is to be congratuated, well done GOAS.