Aug 31, 2023

RFBI rolls out telehealth carts to improve resident healthcare access

Residents at RFBI Moonbi Masonic Village experience new telehealth carts that will improve resident healthcare access. [Source: Facebook]

With healthcare accessibility concerns impacting regional aged care homes, the Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI) has been rolling out several new telehealth carts across its homes, much to the excitement of residents and staff alike.

Each telehealth cart is an all-in-one companion that takes the typical medical-grade computer and puts it on wheels. Featuring modern computers, video conferencing platforms and inbuilt compatibility with a range of diagnostic tools, it significantly reduces the administrative burden of any telehealth appointment while potentially avoiding costly accessibility delays.

Telehealth benefits

  • Reduced waiting times for regional aged care residents who require a medical practitioner to travel long distances
  • Increased convenience for people attending simple consultations
  • Greater continuity of care for medical practitioners who can easily schedule recurring telehealth check-ups
  • More family involvement as relatives can be included in video calls

For RFBI, the investment is set to drastically improve resident care as they can now access quality healthcare no matter where they live.

“Led by our Nurse Practitioner, Amanda Woodlands, our telehealth services will help minimise barriers to accessing GPs and other health services for our residents,” RFBI said in a statement.

“Telehealth services give our healthcare practitioners access to residents when they cannot physically come into the village, ensuring continuity of care even when circumstances prevent in-person visits.”

In addition to the direct benefits of increased accessibility, images, recordings and notes taken during an appointment will also be seamlessly added to resident files, reducing the amount of work required for staff on the floor and healthcare professionals. 

This results in better communication and connection between internal and external systems that are often impacted by improper note-taking or system incompatibility. It’s a positive step towards enhanced resident care outcomes.

Troy Arandale, Glen Innes Severn Council Deputy Mayor and Karen Munster, Attract, Connect, Stay Health Workforce Recruiter Connecter, join RFBI Glen Innes Masonic Village staff at their show and tell session. [Source: Facebook]

Investing in 18 new telehealth carts was no easy feat, however. RFBI contributed $150,000, matched by critical funding from half a dozen local Public Health Networks, including the Hunter, New England and Central Coast PHN.

Several carts have already been introduced to RFBI homes across New South Wales, including Masonic Villages at Moonbi, Glen Innes and Goulburn. With each facility facing its own unique challenges caused by the inconsistent availability of busy General Practitioners (GPs) and other healthcare professionals, the introduction of a premium virtual healthcare device should make all the difference moving forward.

The feedback from residents has already been positive as show-and-tell events have afforded residents the opportunity to ask questions and test out the new equipment. 

“We are thrilled with the positive response we have received, as they [residents] wholeheartedly embrace the future of healthcare technology,” a spokesperson for RFBI said.

“The show and tell sessions are our way of introducing our telehealth services and the technology we will be using to support them to residents, families and health professionals.”

RFBI has said it hopes to have a telehealth cart in all 22 villages, benefiting 1300 residents. RFBI Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Frank Price, also said they plan to extend telehealth availability to staff and families of residents so they can access specialist care without having to drive or fly long distances.

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