Vulnerable older people in western Sydney are able to safely access expert care through the COVID-19 outbreak thanks to a new program from Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals.
The Community Aged-care Rapid Evaluation (CARE) program involves a team of specialist geriatricians, nurses and social workers visiting patients in their homes or aged care facilities to help manage geriatric health conditions.
Led by geriatricians Dr Stephanie Polley, Dr Nicole Corben and Dr Henry Maung, the team provides specialised management plans for older people experiencing delirium, dementia, falls, infections and frailty.
COVID-safe assessments are conducted in person, via phone or videoconferencing, depending on the needs and circumstances of each person.
85-year-old Lena Dalgleish was one of the first patients seen by the CARE team when her family were concerned about recent changes to Lena’s health and lifestyle.
The Blackett resident has dementia and has been supported by her family since the passing of her husband of 61 years in April.
“I felt relaxed and comfortable with the staff visiting me in a COVID-safe way in my home,” Lena said.
The CARE team performed a comprehensive health assessment for Lena and assisted the family with referrals to other support services.
Blacktown Hospital geriatrician Dr Henry Maung said the program allows older people to receive hospital-level care in the familiarity of their own homes.
“We are seeing many older people living longer with more complex health issues who would prefer to be cared for in their familiar residence,” Dr Maung said.
“This program was developed to help link community services and primary care providers to provide a specialised level of care at patient’s homes or aged care facilities.
“Our team has provided specialised assistance to aged care facilities affected by COVID-19 outbreaks.”
The CARE pilot program started on 21 June and has so far received more than 40 referrals.
“Patients are able to receive hospital level of care with intravenous antibiotics to treat conditions including pneumonia, urinary tract infections and cellulitis as we work with the Hospital in the Home service,” Dr Maung said.
The BMDH CARE team currently accepts referrals from Blacktown Hospital geriatrics department, emergency department, aged care nurse specialists and the Aged Care Services Emergency Team (ASET).