The Nepean Blue Mountains region population is ageing. Older people aged 65 years and older comprise 14.1% of the population and this is expected to rise to 20.7% by 2036.1
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.
1. Nepean Blue Mountains Needs Assessment 2019