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Older Persons' Health

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 (or otherwise) 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.

Our Older Persons Health program looks at ways to better understand and assist GPs in the delivery of improved care of their older patients. 

Resources for Health Professionals

Older Persons' Care Pathway

This local 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.

Visit the Older Persons' Care Pathway tool online

The Older Persons' Care Pathway was generated as a result of issues raised through comprehensive GP consultations and a consultative forum in September 2015 with 70 representatives from over 18 areas of service and carer provision for older persons. (Outcomes from the forum are summarised in the Supporting the health of older people summary sheet, pdf, 472kb).

The Consultative Forum was one of the initiatives of the Older Persons' Care Consortium, which was established in 2015 by Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, NSW Ambulance, Anglicare and NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation - focusing on the needs of older people in the Penrith region.

The Building Partnerships Framework agreement funded by ACI, is a joint initiative that has enabled the NBMPHN and key partners to undertake work in supporting the health of older people across the Nepean Blue Mountains region through the formation of an older person's care coordinator.

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 Awareness

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).

More information:

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. 

More information: