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$1million project to help nursing home residents

A collaborative project led by USC to improve the care of nursing home residents who develop acute illnesses has gained $1.15million from the Australian Government.

The USC team headed by Professor of Nursing Marianne Wallis won one of the competitive Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants from the Department of Social Services, out of hundreds of applications from across the country.

“Our USC Nursing academics are partnering with Nambour General Hospital’s emergency department, Sundale’s residential aged care services and Sunshine Coast Health Network for this exciting project to develop and test a new model of care for these vulnerable people in our society,” said Professor Wallis.

The project is called CEDRiC (Care Coordination through Emergency Department, Residential Aged Care and Primary Health Collaboration).

She said older people comprised an increasing proportion of hospital emergency department presentations and, when admitted, were at risk of complications.

“CEDRiC is an innovative model of service delivery for people in residential aged care who experience an episode of acute illness,” she said.

“It has three aims: to strengthen the capacity of the residential aged care sector to deliver care; to improve care for older adults in hospital; and to improve interaction between the sectors.”

The model involves advanced practice nurses based at aged care homes, the development of advanced care plans for residents, better coordination with general practitioners in care delivery, and training programs for staff.

Nambour Hospital’s Dr EJ Marsden said the project included changes to emergency department procedures.

“A team of aged care specialist emergency nurses will assess nursing home residents when they arrive, streamline their stay and improve communications between hospital departments and the nursing homes,” Dr Marsden said.

Sundale’s Kaye Coates said the project was designed to reduce the avoidable transfer of residents to the emergency department.

“We want to improve the satisfaction of residents and families in relation to their care, and prevent repeat presentations to hospital,” Ms Coates said.

Federal Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison said it was part of the Government’s $34million commitment to tackle new and existing challenges in aged care.

“These grants will support older Australians in our community by building the capacity of local aged care service providers to better meet their needs,” he said.

— Julie Schomberg

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