Older people in the Penrith region are projected to double the NSW average in numbers over the next 15 years.
There are a number of factors that lead to older people being admitted to hospital, which could be avoided through the way care is delivered by their GP, including:
- management of poly pharmacy
- management of chronic pain (opioid specific)
- prevention of falls
- vaccine preventable conditions (pneumonia and influenza)
Once an older person presents or is admitted to hospital their wishes are not always clearly articulated.
This can be addressed through the development of advance care directives, accessible through the My Health Record to treating clinicians.
In addition, maintaining linkages and broad promotion of palliative care services throughout the region can help primary care clinicians with the coordination of end-of-life care.
Clearly articulated management and referral options for the care of rapidly declining older persons within the region are also not easily accessible or broadly disseminated to primary care.
The older person’s care pathway is an online tool to help healthcare professionals easily identify how to access acute care for older persons and refer them to appropriate health services in the Penrith area.
My Aged Care
My Aged Care is the entry point for older Australians to access aged care. GPs play a key role in supporting patients to access these services and can make referrals.
There are a number of ways to refer a patient to My Aged Care:
- GPs using Medical Director, Best Practice or Genie Practice management systems can use the new pre-populating e-referral form.
- GPs using other systems can use the online make a referral form. This online tool enables health and aged care professionals to request an assessment for a patient.
- There is a new online form available that allows patients, or someone acting on their behalf, to apply for their first assessment online as an alternative to calling.
- If you believe your patient is already receiving aged care services, you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to find out more information before you decide to make a referral.
You will need your patient’s consent, or that of their legal representative, to obtain or provide any information to My Aged Care.
Resources for Health Professionals
Older Persons Nurse Practitioner - Blue Mountains Hospital
Blue Mountains Hospital employ a Nurse Practitioner, specialising in the care of the older people, to work in Katoomba and Springwood hospitals and in RACFs from Springwood to Mount Victoria.
GPs can refer patients in the community or in RACFs, who may need advanced assessment and management of acute illness and requiring advanced interventions in such as IV antibiotics, cognitive decline, wound care, continence needs, advanced care planning, palliative care (in conjunction with palliative care community teams) and BPSD support.
Referrals can be made by calling Joanne Russell on 0417 414 218 or by email.
Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness in combating bacterial infections, with about 1,600 people in Australia dying annually as a result of antibiotic resistance. As some patients, including older patients, may incorrectly believe antibiotics can treat all respiratory conditions, they may present to their GP and ask for antibiotics.
GPs play a critical role in educating patients and preventing unnecessary prescriptions of antibiotics. Techniques such as delayed prescribing or shared decision-making should be part of the doctor-patient conversation in an effort to arrive at the best management option.
This video from Dr Norman Swan shares more information about this issue and some practical ways to help keep your patients happy while avoiding unnecessary prescriptions of antibiotics.
You can also access our Antibiotics Awareness video for patients, to help raise awareness about the ineffectiveness of antibiotics in managing viral, respiratory conditions. This can be shared in those practices that are able to play video in their waiting rooms.
Veterans' Health Resources
Rehabilitation Appliance Program
The Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) assists entitled veterans, war widow/ers and dependants through the provision of aids and appliances to minimise the impact of disabilities, enhance quality of life and maximise independence when undertaking daily living activities.
RAP appliances are available to Gold and White card holders assessed by an appropriately qualified health provider (e.g. Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, General Practitioner).
Coordinated Veterans Care
The Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program is a team-based program designed to increase support for Gold Card holders with one or more targeted chronic conditions or complex care needs; and those who are at risk of unplanned hospitalisation. CVC focuses on improving the management of chronic conditions and quality of life for eligible Gold Card holders who are most at risk of unplanned hospitalisation.