This was an innovation project supported by the former Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.
- Kyabram District Health
- Loddon Mallee Rural Health Alliance
- Bendigo Health
- Murray Primary Health Network
- Regional aged care facilities in the Loddon Mallee region
Many older adults in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), especially those with complex chronic health conditions, would benefit from a comprehensive geriatric assessment. However, accessing specialist geriatric services can be challenging in regional Victoria due to the time and travel required.
As at November 2016, more than 750 of the 800 RACF residents in the region had not had any geriatric medical input into their care plan. The wait time to see a geriatrician was approximately two to three months, and many residents had to travel to Bendigo for their appointment as only one geriatrician was servicing the region at the time.
The Geri-Connect project aimed to use video conferencing telehealth technology to bridge the geographic divide and establish a sustainable specialist geriatrician service to improve the equity, timeliness, and quality of care provided to older people in RACFs across the Loddon Mallee region of Victoria.
Establish a self-sustaining specialist geriatrician virtual service hub to improve the equity, timeliness and quality of care provided to older people in RACFs across the Loddon Mallee region of Victoria.
- Made it easier and more convenient for older patients in rural RACFs to access specialist geriatrician services, reducing travel time and freeing up more clinical hours for geriatricians
- Completed 237 consultations in nine months
- Completed comprehensive geriatric assessments for 30 per cent of clients at participating RACFs, compared with 5 per cent prior to the project
- Reduced response times for Aged Care Assessment Services assessments by 83 per cent
- Recommended a reduction in polypharmacy for 89 per cent of patients seen
November 2019 – Due to its success, the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund supported the scaling and spreading of this innovation project.