New virtual ward opens

Sarah Courtney,Minister for Health

Finding ways to keep Tasmanians safe and secure during the COVID-19 pandemic is the Tasmanian Government’s number one priority.

I’m pleased to announce, we have ‘admitted’ and now discharged our first patient from our Hospital In The Home ward 10 weeks ahead of schedule.

A Kingston woman was being cared for in her home after being discharged from the Royal Hobart Hospital emergency department last week.

Hospital In The Home, a joint initiative of Royal Hobart Hospital’s general medical unit and the Community Rapid Response Service, provides acute care for adult inpatients in the comfort of their home.

The service delivers acute nursing by experienced hospital specialists and nurse practitioners.

The ward is supported by a pharmacist and other allied health services ensuring the same quality and level of care as provided in hospital.

Initially implemented to increase hospital capacity and to ease demand on the emergency department, the virtual ward began ahead of time to help deal with COVID-19.

The care must be safe and practical to deliver at home and currently excludes people who need post-surgical care and pregnancy-related care.

Discharging patients from hospital into the community when safe to do is better for their recovery and frees up beds, which takes pressure off our emergency departments during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Starting at four beds, over coming weeks the ward will reach its 12-bed capacity accepting transfers from other clinical areas and residents of aged care facilities.

I thank our hard working healthcare workers who are always looking a new and innovative ways to deliver the best care in the right place at the right time.

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