News: Trial puts nurse practitioner on call

03 August, 2016

The Senior (newspaper)

Aged care and retirement village residents and nearby seniors will have access to an after-hours on-call health service under a new pilot scheme in Melbourne’s east.

The program, being run by Australian Unity at Victoria Grange Aged Care and Retirement Village in Vermont South, will provide an on-call nurse practitioner for 300 village residents as well as thousands of patients aged over 65 within a 10km radius.

To start on August 15, it is expected to reduce after-hours emergency department visits by up to half. Program coordinator Erica Henderson said the service had the potential to change after-hours care nationally.

“Quite often when people are feeling unwell, they can leave it to the end of the day before realising how sick they are,” she said.

“By that point their condition has escalated to the point where hospital admission is necessary.
“We can provide care to people closer to home and earlier on, to resolve these situations in a way that is better for everyone.
“Our nurse practitioners aim to keep people healthy, and we give people quick access to the care they need and work hand in hand with local GPs and hospitals when needed.”

Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network Chief Executive, Robin Whyte, said the innovative program, which will bulk bill services, would be open in the evenings, on weekends and public holidays.

“Melbourne’s eastern suburbs has a large number of aged care and retirement villages, and it is important that people get the best health care possible regardless of their age,” she said.

The pilot is one of 17 local innovation projects funded by the network.