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Milestone for Frailty Intervention Team

Published:  01 October 2020

Townsville University Hospital’s frailty intervention team (FIT) have chalked up a major milestone to coincide with International Day of the Older Person.

The team has reached 250 visits to residential aged care facilities across Townsville, saving residents the need for stressful and time-consuming visits to Townsville University Hospital.

FIT team leader and emergency physician Dr Jane Dutson said the new service, which began in February 2020, had been well received by aged care facilities, their residents and families and carers.

“Through this new service we can visit an aged care home and provide care that we regularly see in the emergency department but is less severe and can actually be delivered in people’s homes.

“This is about what is doing best for the resident. It is so much easier to offer people the option to get the care they need without having to come to the hospital, particularly the elderly.

“If people come into the ED for this sort of care, they may face a longer wait as doctors deal with heart attacks and trauma and all measure of other serious conditions.”

Dr Dutson said the type of care delivered included: identifying the need for intravenous antibiotics, specialised wound care, PEG care or inserting a catheter which are typically not emergency presentations and can lead to longer waits for care in the ED.

The service has now expanded to provide hospital ‘in-reach’ services to people living in residential aged care.

“This means that if someone from residential aged care does have to come to our emergency department for care, we can provide support to them while they are here,” she said.

“This means we support them from their arrival in ED, during their admission and when they are discharged.”

October 1 is International Day of the Older Person and Dr Dutson said nothing can be more important to people to be able to enjoy their twilight years with good health.

“We’ve known for ages that we our community is growing, and ageing and we are really seeing that now,” she said.

“I’m really proud to lead this team to really make it as easy as possible for our elderly residents to have access to care in their home without the stress of coming to hospital.

“We’ve had a really great year in delivering this new model of care and I’d ask anyone who has a loved one in a residential aged care facility to ask them about our service.”

The FIT team also offers support from a geriatrician who supports residents with ongoing care once the initial consultation is complete.

International Day of the Older Person in 2020 is supported by the United Nations and aims to raise awareness of the special health needs of older people and increase awareness of the role healthcare workers play in maintaining and improving the health of older people.

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