25 October 2017

Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja has announced that the ACT Primary Health Network and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce have commenced the trial of a Geriatric Rapid Acute Care Evaluation (GRACE) Program to provide expert, coordinated and collaborative health care to aged care facility residents in their comfortable setting and possibly avoiding presentation to Calvary Emergency Department when other care options are available.

Senator Zed Seselja welcomed the pilot of the newly funded service that began this month and fosters collaboration between a resident’s General Practitioner (GP), Residential and Aged Care Facility (RACF) Nursing and Medical staff, and Calvary Public Hospital.

“The GRACE Program recognises that many aged care residents experience significant difficulty and avoidable anxiety seeking treatment for non-life threatening, acute care needs.  It offers GPs, RACF staff, family and Calvary Public Hospital an alternative process that is designed to have a patient’s assessment and treatment undertaken in the patient’s residential setting. If a patient’s condition is serious enough to warrant a hospital admission, this is also coordinated between the GRACE team and the Calvary Public Hospital Emergency Department.

“The GRACE team’s involvement in a patient can be initiated by any of the parties, with the GRACE team coordinating care planning, case management and information sharing,” said Senator Seselja.

Capital Health Network Chief Executive Gaylene Coulton said the Calvary Public Hospital Bruce was engaged through the ACT PHN programme to implement the model of care.

"We’re confident the GRACE Pilot Program will have multiple benefits for patients and their various care providers.  Through the trial in Residential and Aged Care Facilities in north Canberra, we create a ‘network’ of expertise around each patient that will provide appropriate and personalised care in the setting where they are comfortable and feel safe.  If a hospital presentation is required, that too will be arranged in an orderly fashion which will reduce the patient’s anxiety,”

According to Dr John Merchant, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce Clinical Lead – Innovation and Redesign, the first two weeks of the trial showed that the GRACE model can have a positive impact for RACF residents, their family and care providers.

“At this early stage we have already seen the different care providers collaborating to provide patient centered care for a number of residents. Patients benefit from less disruption and anxiety by being treated in their residence. And by synchronising the patient’s GP, RACF staff, Calvary clinicians and the patient’s family we create a care plan with an agreed goal for the patient.”

The five RACF sites involved in the trial Calvary Haydon Retirement Village, Bill McKenzie Gardens, Villagio Sant’ Antonio, RFBI Canberra Masonic Village (Kalparrin Aged Care Facility) and Kangara Waters.

The initial hours of service are 8am – 8pm, Mon. – Fri., excluding public holidays.  To contact the GRACE team, call 0439 216 143 or GRACE [at] calvary-act.com.au.  This additional service has been made possible through funding provided by the Australian Government under the PHN Program.