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Making health care easier as we age

A better approach to supporting older people and their families and carers to move between their homes, hospital, rehabilitation and aged care facilities as their health needs change is the goal of a new Victorian program.

A better approach to supporting older people and their families and carers to move between their homes, hospital, rehabilitation and aged care facilities as their health needs change is the goal of a new Victorian program.

Not for profit aged care provider Benetas has teamed up with Bayside Medicare Local to pilot the program which hopes to create “easier transition pathways” for older people when they are ready to move from a hospital setting into another type of care.

Sandra Hills, Benetas chief executive, says clients and their families often claim that finding the right services is difficult.

“People aged over 60 are the fastest growing population in Melbourne’s south. We already have great primary health services in the Bayside region, but we do need to improve the way these services link together,” Ms Hills says.

Dr Elizabeth Deveny, chief executive officer of Bayside Medicare Local, claims health services need to make it easier for people to get the most appropriate type of health care.

“If an older person has a fall and goes to hospital, it can be very hard to navigate a way home through the acute health system, rehabilitation services and aged care providers,” Dr Deveny says.

“Through this pilot project, the older person and their family and carers will have a much better idea of the services in the region, and have a smoother path to move on to the next type of care and get  the support they need to live independently.”

The joint initiative is being funded as part of the federal government’s $11 million Better Health Partnership in Primary Care program.

With a growing elderly population and more people aged over 75 living alone, the pilot project will focus on supporting older people in the region who have subacute and complex health needs.

The lessons learnt from this project, which is due to run until the end of 2014, will be shared with other health services and regions, and nationally through the network of 61 Medicare Locals.

For more information on the project, contact Dr Amee Morgans, Benetas innovation, research and policy manager, on (03) 8823 7900.

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