‘GRACE’ keeps older Canberrans out of hospital

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A NEW service being rolled out by the ACT government aims to keep older Canberrans out of hospital. 

The Geriatric Rapid Acute Care Evaluation (GRACE) Service provides care to unwell Canberrans in residential aged care facilities to better manage their conditions in their residence, preventing a trip to the hospital.

The program was introduced by the Capital Health Network in 2016 through a trial with Calvary Public Hospital and five residential aged care facilities in Canberra’s north.

Following a mid-year budget review, Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris says the service will now be expanded across the ACT.

“GRACE is an important part of the ACT government’s $34.5 million Hospital in the Home expansion announced in last year’s budget,” she says.

“The ACT’s population is not only growing it is ageing and with that demographic comes increasingly complex health issues that put pressure on frontline services.

“That’s why we need to look at new and innovative ways of providing better primary and community health services and keep people out of hospital.”

Capital Health Network chief executive adjunct Prof Gaylene Coulton says she’s pleased to see the innovative program expanded across the ACT.

“This is a great outcome, with the trial highlighting a 24 per cent reduction in ED presentations and a 25 per cent reduction in admissions from residential aged care facilities. These results demonstrate the positive impact this program can have as it is expanded across Canberra,” she says.

More than 500 older persons from residential aged care facilities received care as part of the GRACE trial program between October 2017 and the end of January 2019.

The rollout territory-wide will be phased, with an extension of the current services operating on the north side and the introduction of south side services from April this year, and services increasing on the south side from March 2020.

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