New era for health care in South Australia

The Marshall Liberal Government will develop a new statewide “Home Hospital” initiative from next year in an effort to provide high quality care, free up hospital beds and ease pressure on our busy emergency departments.

The innovative project will enable people to receive hospital-level care in the comfort, safety and privacy of their own homes.

It follows the success of several out-of-hospital pilot programs that have helped treat more than 400 South Australians either at home or within the community so far this year:

  • 238 people have been linked with enhanced out-of-hospital support in the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network through their pilot program with Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS)
  • 156 patients have been linked to GP and community services through a pilot program run by the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network with Pop-Up Community Care
  • The Geriatrics in the Home program in Adelaide’s north and north-east which is freeing up up to 16 beds daily at Modbury and Lyell McEwin Hospitals.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the pilot programs have provided home or community care to a range of suitable patients, which has helped free up hundreds of bed days.

“The pilots have shown that community-based acute care is embraced by patients and delivers high quality, sustainable care,” Minister Wade said.

“As a result, we are looking to develop hospital-level care in the community on a much wider scale. We hope to create around 200 community beds by 2021-2022.

“The South Australian health system is currently one of the most expensive health systems in Australia, operating on average above the National Efficient Price.

“In order to create a more sustainable health system, we need to move towards a health system that provides safe, high quality but lower cost alternatives to hospital care.

“For older patients, a hospital stay often worsens their overall condition. It may disrupt their routine and sleep, reduce access to family and friends, and involve prolonged bed-rest which rapidly decreases muscle strength.

“Receiving care in a familiar and comfortable surrounding benefits a patient’s overall wellbeing and improves treatment outcomes, as well as avoiding the risk of hospital acquired infection.”

SA Health is currently seeking feedback from interested home and community health services to work with them to develop the best models of care for ongoing home hospital programs.

Minister Wade said it is not just the patients at home who will benefit from the new programs.

“We are rebalancing health services to ease pressure on our emergency departments and deliver care closer to home,” Minister Wade said.

“We want to deliver innovative technological solutions to improve patient access to healthcare, such as allowing clinicians to remotely oversee care.

“While we are still within the early planning stages, new programs that keep people well while reducing their need to use the existing hospital system will benefit both the individual and the wider community.

“By providing increased options for the provision of healthcare in the home or community, we will also free up acute hospital beds for patients whose care requires hospital-based technology or services.”

The home hospital programs are expected to deliver a range of clinical services for specified diseases and population groups.

Responses to SA Health’s Request for Information are due by 2pm, 17 June 2019. A business case, expected later this year, will include budget details.

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