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Integrated Healthcare at Bupa Care Services 

Bupa Care ServicesIn a move towards improving clinical care for residents, Bupa Care Services is embedding GPs into 15 Bupa aged care homes, in order to assess the impact on quality outcomes.

The Government blue print for aged care reform Living Longer Living Better highlights the need for better connections between the health and aged care systems. In particular, improved access to GP services has been flagged as a potential area for improvement for the health system/aged care interface. “It isn’t that GPs already working with care homes are doing anything less than a good job,” says Medical Director of Bupa Care Services Australia, Dr Daniel Valle Gracia. “It’s simply that availability can be an issue.”

Bupa’s ‘Integrated Healthcare Model’, means that GPs can be on the ground and readily available to residents and their families in real time, as care decisions need to be made.

Early indications suggest the service is making a real difference for residents. Residents have a choice of keeping their own doctor or seeking help from the onsite GP. Uptake has been quite promising. Not only have residents seen improved continuity of care where that had been an issue previously but we’ve seen positive indications of improved care outcomes: the need for psychotropic medication and transfers to hospital have dropped.

“We’ve had positive feedback from families who have been particularly grateful in cases where family members have been able to receive palliative care in their ‘home’ environment and avoid the transfer to hospital,” says Valle Gracia. Formal health service research efforts are ramping up to quantify the impact of the GPs’ presence on resident outcomes, such as unplanned hospital transfers, polypharmacy, and falls.