Western Health has won the Victorian Healthcare Association’s Patient Engagement Award for its work in breaking down barriers to the admission and discharge of disadvantaged patients.
The Rapid Discharge Support Service model engages with socio-economically disadvantaged patients to deliver a person-centred approach to care. It has supported nearly 600 patients in the past two years.
Western Health Acting Director of Community Services, Cherie Hunter said: “Socio-economic disadvantage is pronounced in many of our communities. In servicing a population of more than 850,000 people, this disadvantage presents an increasing challenge for us.”
“Through this model, we help complex patients transition from hospital to home in a safe and timely way, by resolving barriers to their being discharged,” said Ms Hunter. “We focused on improving traditional admission and discharge processes for patients without support structures in place to provide the care needed in the first 24-hours post-procedure, to patients whose families could not meet their needs in the timeframe required, which would increase their time in hospital.”
Ms Hunter said the model was also about avoiding unnecessary admissions to hospital pre or post a day procedure.
Western Health also won the VHA Award for its HealthLinks Integrated Care Program. This program, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, is about improving the overall care experience for patients with chronic and complex conditions, enabling them to spend more healthy days back in their own homes.
It has resulted in over 3000 patients with conditions like chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, renal failure and diabetes spending less time in hospital and being much happier with their care.
Western Health Executive Director of Community Integration, Allied Health and Services Planning, Arlene Wake said: “Patients with chronic and complex illness are at risk of poorer outcomes so we established the program to ensure a more supportive, cohesive and integrated model of care for them.”
“Our new identification system ensures that we can now identify patients who are frequently readmitting and those facing difficult challenges in managing their complex and chronic illness.”
“Essential to the program is making sure that these patients receive a quality transition from hospital, are reconnected with their GP, and receive the services they need on their return home,” she said.
Western Health has shared its HealthLinks Integrated Care Program model with various state and national bodies, and with the Canterbury District Health Board in New Zealand and the United States Accountability Care Organisation. Western Health was also invited to present the program at the European Healthcare Design Conference in London.
Victorian Healthcare Association Chief Executive Tom Symondson said: “Both of these programs have demonstrated the depth and importance that Western Health has taken to deliver quality health care to the people of Victoria.”
The VHA Annual Awards were held on 18 October 2018. For more information about the awards, see Celebrating 80 years for the VHA (external website).