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New service eases hospital stress for aged care residents

Published:  14 February 2020

A Townsville aged care resident has been the first to benefit from a Townsville University Hospital (TUH) service saving unwell residents a trip to hospital by delivering acute care to the door of their aged care facility.

The service, funded by the Queensland Government’s Frail Older Persons program, was a great relief to Blue Care Mount Louisa resident Maureen Baldock and her daughter Lyn Derbyshire after a fall which left Maureen with a fractured ankle.

Lyn said when an x-ray confirmed the fracture Maureen needed to be fitted with a moonboot.

“To do this we would have had to take mum to hospital,” Lyn said.

“She was in a lot of pain with significant bruising and swelling so I knew a hospital trip would cause her distress.

“In addition to being quite frail, mum also has Alzheimer’s which would have made a trip to hospital much worse for her; there would have been a lot of confusion as to why she was there.”

Lyn said the following day she was informed a doctor and clinical nurse from Townsville University Hospital Residential Aged Care Support Service (RaSS) had been to see Maureen to fit the moonboot.

“I was really happy when I heard this because I knew there had been no additional stress for mum,” Lyn said.

“The clinical nurse was in touch after treating mum and filled me in on everything; assuring me that they would touch base in the weeks following to ensure there had been no complications.”

RaSS clinical nurse Bethany Roche said the care provided to Maureen was the epitome of what the service offered.

“It is a partnership between general practitioners, residential aged care facilities, hospitals and health services and community service providers to ensure the right care is received at the place and the right time,” Bethany said.

Bethany said Townsville University Hospital community geriatrician Dr Angeline Khoo completed a geriatric medical assessment on Maureen.

“There were no issues, so we fitted the moonboot for her and helped her to stablise with it on,” she said. Bethany said treating Maureen in an environment familiar to her made a substantial difference in how she handled the situation.

“She was settled and beautiful to engage with,” Bethany said.

“She was in her own room at Blue Care as opposed to a busy hospital department and surrounded by the familiar faces of the Blue Care team.

“The service also saved her two ambulance rides as well as potential stay in hospital.”

Lyn said she couldn’t praise the service enough.

“It is a wonderful service and takes the stress away for the families too,” she said.

“To put your mother through that and carrying the worry of how she would react going through that process is a lot.”

Blue Care integrated service manager Amanda Walker said the introduction of the service was pivotal to residents.

“This is a great demonstration of how working collaboratively across the health sector can improved the lives of residents living in aged care facilities,” Amanda said.

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