SA Health has started rolling out its virtual care programme to over 120 residential care facilities in the state.
This follows a trial in 11 aged care homes operated by Eldercare since early last year.
In partnership with SA Ambulance Service, regional hospitals and aged care facilities, the SA Virtual Care Service (SAVCS) provides an individualised assessment service via video link for urgent patients on scene with responders.
Responders can turn to senior and specialist medical clinicians for help via video on an electronic tablet to assess, monitor, and determine the most appropriate and safe options for emergency patients.
WHY IT MATTERS
The SAVCS pathway brings the expertise of clinical teams that is normally only available in the ED to the patient’s home.
During its trial, about 70% of SAVCS patients avoided ED admissions and unnecessary triple-zero calls and instead received immediate care in place.
“The [SAVCS] is an easily accessible healthcare service to avoid hospital transfers for aged care residents,” said Samantha Miller, court site operations manager at Eldercare Acacia.
The virtual service also reduces hospital emergency presentations, and thus reserves precious hospital resources for those who critically need them.
SA Health expects the service to benefit around 10,000 aged care residents across the state.
THE LARGER TREND
To further increase its capacity to attend to emergency patients amid a COVID-19 outbreak, Northern Health in July also expanded access to its virtual emergency department service to people living in residential aged care facilities and COVID-19 patients being treated at home via the COVID-19 Positive Pathway Program.