More locals accessing hospital services from the comfort of their home

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Sunshine Coast local and HITH patient, Pam.

More than 100 Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) patients a month are now benefiting from a growing virtual healthcare service.

Hospital in the Home (HITH), an SCHHS program allowing locals to receive acute care at home instead of in the hospital, is now caring for more patients, and more complex patients, than it ever has before.

SCHHS HITH A/Medical Director Dr Shaun Hosein said the service had come a long way since the first patient was referred and cared for in 2014. 

"The program utilises modern health services and technology to support patients to recover from a range of injuries or illnesses in the comfort of their home or residential aged care facility.

“While we have traditionally cared for people with infections, such as skin inflammations, pneumonia, severe chest infections, urinary tract infections as well as blood clots, we have recently been evolving to support more complex and frail patients transition to their homes.

“We have also been working with other specialist teams, General Practitioners and Nurse Navigators to help keep more people out of hospital and better streamline our care and health resources.

“In the future we want to continue to expand the service and involve other healthcare teams such as cardiology, respiratory and geriatrics, and help take the load off the hospitals.

“The increased use of technology is part of the natural progression of healthcare. We are already using telehealth and will be adding in remote patient monitoring for some patients admitted to HITH too,” Dr Hosein said. 

Sunshine Coast local Pam said she was very impressed with the care she received from HITH.

“I first accessed the service when I was sent home from the hospital to await my surgery and wasn’t feeling that confident with my new medication regime. It was amazing. The nurses who came were so friendly and professional, they were terrific.

“The nurses came daily with a bright smile, they made me feel confident with it all and reassured me I was OK. They always phoned the doctor to check in and I was very confident that if anything had gone wrong I would have been seen to quickly.

“After my surgery, I was able to access the service again, and this time they visited me twice a day while my medication was stabilised. It was great to be at home rather than spending extra time in hospital while this was done.

“If I had to come home without their visits, I don’t think I would have coped as well. They helped me through a time of uncertainty, I was really grateful for the service they provided,” Pam said.

To deliver HITH, the health service works in partnership with not-for-profit organisation Silver Chain Group, the country’s largest in-home community health and aged care provider that helps Australians to remain independent at home.

Silver Chain Executive Director Queensland Tamra Bridges said ensuring patients felt safe was also paramount, especially in the context of COVID-19.

“Many clients have shared how safe they have felt seeing how meticulous the nurses were in providing their care. We’ve received many comments on the professionalism, competence and compassion shared by all members of the HITH team.

“As a local team based on the Sunshine Coast, our highly skilled HITH and palliative care nurses specialise in providing complex care to patients at their time of greatest need,” Ms Bridges said

HITH services patients in the Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie regional council areas, providing a home visiting service seven days a week and phone support 24-hours a day, seven days a week.