Healthy ageing

In South Eastern NSW, there are currently more than 110,000 people aged over 65 years. This equates to more than 18% of the resident population and is higher than the NSW (15.5%) and Australian (14.7%) averages. By 2031, the population aged 65 years and over is expected to increase by 73% compared to 2011 and this ageing population will place greater demand on residential aged care facilities and other services across the region.

As the South Eastern NSW PHN, COORDINARE is working with consumers and other stakeholders to identify the most appropriate approaches to support healthy ageing and maximising the independence and self-care abilities of older people.

COORDINARE’s workforce development initiatives are also aligned the healthy ageing priority and will focus on translating new knowledge, skills and attitudes into practice locally and will be led by external clinical experts.

Commissioned programs

COORDINARE has announced funding for three programs to promote healthy and active ageing to residents to enable them to stay well and remain living in their communities as they age. This includes:

  • Malnutrition screening: University of Wollongong – offering routine screening for malnutrition in older adults and an accompanying care plan. It will be rolled out to 12 general practices serving geographical areas that have high proportions of the population above 65 years within the PHN area.
  • Preventing Falls, Promoting Life: Grand Pacific Health – offering a service that aims to prevent falls and harm from falls, in targeted locations that have high ageing populations with high rates of falls, and have identified service gaps for falls prevention options.
  • Grey Medallion: Royal Life Saving NSW – has been commissioned to offer 400-500 older people the opportunity to undertake the Grey Medallion program. The Grey Medallion program is an initiative for older adults. It aims to encourage a healthy, independent and active lifestyle through the development of water safety and lifesaving skills.

All programs will be funded until 30 June 2018.

Read the full media release here >

Referral to aged care services

In South Eastern NSW there are currently more than 110,000 people aged over 65 years, who may at some stage in their life, need to access aged care services.

From 1 July 2015, healthcare professionals including GPs and nurses can make a referral to aged care services through the My Aged Care contact centre by phone, online or fax.

You can also find a searchable list of government supported aged care organisations, their contact details and the services they provide

Social isolation in the elderly has been identified as a major risk factor. The My Aged Care website provides useful information regarding social support and activities via the Community Visitors Scheme.

In a dedicated section for service providers, you can make a referral to My Aged Care, find the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) that is most appropriate for your client’s needs, update your details on the service finder, and register with the National Health Services Directory.

Referral templates for My Aged Care can also be found in our Resource library. 

The new Palliative Care After Hours Helpline – 1800 548 225

New South Wales patients receiving palliative care, their carers and families, have access to a new service for additional advice and support during the after hours period.

The Palliative Care After Hours Helpline, commenced on 1 March 2016, provides professional information, support and advice for palliative care patients, their carers, parents and families as well as health professionals.

 Intended to give people more choice about the care they receive at home, the Helpline provides tailored advice and support at night, on weekends and public holidays:

  • weekdays: 5pm-9am (AEST)
  • weekends: 5pm Friday – 9am Monday
  • public holidays (National and NSW): from 5pm the day before to 9am the following business day.
Palliative care in Southern NSW

GPs involved in palliative care in Southern NSW now have the option of closing the after hours gap for their palliative care patients. In consultation with the patient and their family, the GP may elect to complete a NSW Ambulance Authorised Palliative Care Plan. For more information click here.

Specialist community palliative care services in Illawarra Shoalhaven

In an effort to better support GPs to provide the highest quality end-of-life care to patients, here is a list of support services available in the Illawarra Shoalhaven.

booklet has also been produced by Dr Roger Cole, for and on behalf of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District to provide medical practitioners with practical therapeutic approaches to common symptoms encountered in the palliative care setting.

The booklet aims to give practitioners quick, user friendly recipes to manage the vast majority of symptom control problems we encounter in the care of terminally ill patients.

Palliative care project in Illawarra Shoalhaven: Driven to change - Making medications work

The palliative care project has been operating in the Illawarra for nearly 2 years, and is now extending into the Shoalhaven.

GPs are the care managers of community patients and this project aims to provide support for your primary care of patients who are linked with the palliative care service and are approaching the end stage of their disease.

When a patient is linked with the Shoalhaven palliative care service, a link is also made to the Primary Health Nurses (aka Community Nurses). The protocol is that after the initial visit, the Primary Health Nurse will fax information to the patient’s GP and kindly request the completion, by signature, of a standard crisis medication chart and scripts for the 4 parenteral medications on the chart. These orders are kept in the patient’s home and the scripts are held at the patient’s pharmacy.

You should have recently received some initial information about it via email. A medication form is now available here. For further information please contact the Specialist Palliative Care Service on 4223 8380 (Illawarra) or 4464 6983 (Shoalhaven).

Advance project: training and resources for General Practice Nurses

Advance is a free toolkit of screening and assessment tools, designed to support nurses in Australian general practices to work with general practitioners to initiate advance care planning and palliative care in everyday general practice. Find out more >

ISBAR and Emergency Department Guidelines

The Aged Care After Hours Program (ACAHP) aimed to improve the quality of care in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) after hours through the development of an Emergency Decision Guidelines Tool and staff training package. Find out more >

Identify, Situation, Background, Assessment, Request (ISBAR) and Emergency Decision Guidelines (EDG) are a guide for making decisions about an acutely unwell and deteriorating resident within a residential aged care facility.

ISBAR is a standardised and structured communication tool and is promoted as a means of improving resident’s safety.  It is acknowledged and promoted by the World Health Organisation and Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare.

EDG is a tool that compliments the ISBAR by providing standardised guidelines to assist RACF staff with emergency decisions when caring for unwell residents. Residential aged care staff can use the guidelines to decide on the course of action for common medical conditions and to help provide enough clinical information over the telephone for the GP, paramedics or hospital staff about the unwell resident.

Other useful resources

Other useful resources that may support your work with older people can be found here.