Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    Delivering a healthy WA - home care to free-up hundreds of hospital beds

    8/08/2005 12:00 AM

    A new State Government health plan will free up more than 100 public hospital beds a day by treating thousands of patients in the comfort of their own home.

    Health Minister Jim McGinty said the $7.6million Healthy@Home program would see medical professionals treat patients with conditions such as respiratory infections, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, deep venous thrombosis and cellulitis.

    “This initiative will revolutionise health care in Western Australia,” Mr McGinty said.

    “Suitable patients who want to be treated at home will receive the same treatment that they would have received in a hospital, along with the necessary support to stay at home safely.

    “There is a perception that a hospital bed is the best place for someone either suffering from a chronic condition or recovering from a serious illness or injury.

    “But international and Australian evidence shows that many medical treatments such as intravenous antibiotics, chemotherapy, rehabilitation and wound treatments can be safely delivered at home or in the community.

    “Going to hospital can cause anxiety and disruption not just for patients, but for their families as well.”

    By shifting patient care away from hospitals and back into people’s homes, Mr McGinty said the Healthy@Home program would free-up at least 64 public hospital beds a day in 2005-06, and 111 beds a day in 2006-07.

    About 10,000 patients are expected to be treated under the program this financial year and 17,000 in the following year.

    “The average cost of a hospital bed is $1,000 a day compared with $300 a day to treat people in their homes, so this initiative is not only freeing-up beds for people requiring more urgent care but saving money as well,” the Minister said.

    He said it was estimated that treating patients at home instead of hospital would save the health system $17.5million in the first year of the program and $34.8million in 2006-07.

    The initiative would provide two key programs: Hospital@Home and KeepWell@Home.

    Mr McGinty said Hospital@Home patients would still be regarded as hospital inpatients under the care of a medical team.

    “Patients with a wide range of injuries and illness may be able to receive all of their care at home or may have a short stay in hospital then be treated at home,” he said.

    Hospital@Home is an expansion of the successful services currently provided across the metropolitan area by the tertiary hospitals and Silver Chain.”

    The second phase of the initiative, KeepWell@Home will see chronic disease management teams set up across Perth to help people with complex ongoing health conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure and respiratory disease.

    Teams of nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians, podiatrists and social workers will work together with GPs and hospital specialists to improve the health, well-being and independence of people with chronic illnesses.

    “The KeepWell@Home program will include care co-ordination, lifestyle education, treatment and support and will help keep people at home and out of hospital,” Mr McGinty said.

    “With a greater emphasis on prevention, and better co-ordination of care, there will be fewer unplanned admissions to hospitals.

    “The Gallop Government is committed to improving the quality of services to all Western Australians wherever they live.”

    Minister's office: 9220 5000