May 08, 2023

Virtual care system expanded to support overstretched workforce

it virtual nursing may 8
After showing promising results, inTouch could potentially be a long-lasting telehealth model. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key Points:

  • The inTouch expansion aims to help 65 residential aged care facilities and 120 residents
  • The virtual service has helped address health concerns such as urinary tract infections, complex wounds, catheter management, and the delivery of intravenous therapies and antibiotics
  • inTouch was created by the Western Sydney Local Health District to help abide by COVID-19 restrictions in residential aged care

A New South Wales health district’s urgent virtual care service is being expanded further into Sydney’s western suburbs to support residential aged care facilities and assist residents with less critical conditions access timely healthcare.

The expansion of the service, inTouch, aims to keep residents out of Emergency Departments and provide more comfortable clinical care for concerns that are less urgent – supporting an already overstretched workforce tending to residents. 

The expansion will also include an increased number of referrals for aged care residents, the NSW Ambulance, and General Practitioners (GPs) as well as improved systems for assessment, care protocols, and clinical documentation.

The inTouch service provides a central point of contact for residential aged care staff, GPs, paramedics, hospital staff, and providers to collaborate via video conference to connect residents with a comprehensive virtual health assessment. 

General Manager of Moran Aged Care in Kellyville, Nelly Banag, said her team used the inTouch service four times and was a useful tool to clarify medical advice.

“It is good to have another service available for our Registered Nurses to refer to and to avoid residents unnecessarily attending hospital – residents get confused when transferred to the Emergency Department and often don’t want to go.”

Born from the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, inTouch was founded in 2021 by the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and commenced the clinical coordination of aged care residents in April 2022. 

After showing promising results, inTouch is going on to be a potentially long-lasting telehealth model since its birth in 2021.

“[Residential aged care facilities] across western Sydney are becoming more engaged and we are getting good feedback from their staff who report the service is simple to use and they really appreciate inTouch support and communication,” said WSLHD Chronic Care Program Nurse Unit Manager, Katia Joseph.

Similar virtual care programs have been run in other Australian States. In October, The South Australian Government offered a virtual health service with an identical motive – to reduce the number of aged care residents going to the hospital by receiving virtual treatment from a doctor while still in their aged care facility.

Has your facility utilised virtual health services? Let us know in the comments below. 

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  1. It depends on who is in charge hospital clinically nurses need to be affiliated with nursing homes. Otherwise neglect and abuse and banning of relatives and informal carers will not be exposed and scandalous abuse and neglect and lonely deaths will occur
    This system is wide open to stop outside professional from seeing those who require clinical experience medical and nursing Care. Totally unqualified and uncaring managers will thrive and so to will providers profits.

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