Last week North Coast Medicare Local's (NCL) "Copernican Inversion Series"* breakfast featured speakers from the aged care and disadvantaged sector.
Shelly Fletcher described the innovation taking place at Feros Care in Byron Bay and Bangalow, where communication technology is revolutionising the management of patients both in aged care facilities and their own homes. The project is looking ways to streamline routine GP and specialist care through teleconsultations. She described how information and communication technologies (ICT) could not only overcome the geographic barriers the residents faced in seeing specialists an hours drive away but also the physical barriers of poor access that still exist at some surgeries and health centres. It is hoped that through better communication the waste of time and duplication of investigations can be reduced.
The project has also enabled the provision of group exercise programs over the internet to patients in their own home. For some elderly patients this has helped them make contact with similar lisolated sufferers
Paul Murphy, of the Winsome Clinic and Lismore Soup Kitchen addressed the topic of "Innovation in Disadvantaged Care". Over the last five years the service has progressed from providing meals and emergency accommodation for marginalised men to wider assistance to homeless youth and families at risk of losing their tenancy. The clients can access support in areas such as financing and personal budgeting, life skills, personal and grief counselling and anger management. Through support from the NCML and St Vincent de Paul, a GP led clinic is run on a weekly basis.
The service aims to be build self sufficiency skills in its clients and move away from the older model that perpetuated a handout mentality.
* CIS aims to bring local clinicians, service providers, the tertiary education sector, researchers, volunteers and consumers together for a breakfast exchange to discuss local innovations in health.