Hospital in the Home program to receive $34.5 million over four years in ACT budget
Over the past six months, Wendy Bryant could have spent 10 weeks in a hospital ward.
Instead, she has spent that time in the comfort of her own home with her husband.
“It would be just terrible,” she said.
“I can’t imagine being in hospital for that length of time.”
Ms Bryant was struck with a multi-resistant infection in November and requires daily infusions of antibiotics for weeks at a time.
Because of a service called Hospital in the Home, she does not have to leave her lounge room to get them.
Nurses visit her daily to both check on her health and administer the treatment.
“It’s as though they’re handpicked, they just the most amazing people,” she said.
“They look after body and soul.”
More people to access service by end of the year
The ACT Government will commit $34.5 million over four years in Tuesday’s territory budget to expand the Hospital in the Home service.
The expansion was an election commitment and comes after an allocation of $136,000 in the 2017-18 budget to review the program.
An extra 24 nurses, three doctors and seven allied health professionals will be employed to provide the service to 3,000 patients each year, about double the current number.
The Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital could be linked by the new funding. (ABC News: Ben Harris)
Hospital in the Home nurse Sarah Elliot said the service provides holistic, one-on-one care.
“We’re able to keep a really close eye on patients and ensure that if they are deteriorating we can alert that and get them the appropriate care that they need,” she said.
“We’re able to pick up cues that you may or may not pick up in a ward environment.”
Several treatments that would usually require hospitalisation qualify for the service, including intravenous antibiotics, blood-clotting prevention and chronic cardiac care.
“For the patient, they’ve got their mental well-being that they’re in their own environment, they’re eating their own food, sleeping in their own bed, they’ve got their own pets around them,” Ms Elliot said.
Full hospitals to have load lightened by home visits
The hospitals in Canberra are just about bursting as flu season starts. (ABC Radio Canberra: Clarissa Thorpe)
It is not just the patient that benefits, the service also frees up hospital beds.
“We’re coming up into winter, the flu season, so the hospital is fit to bursting,” she said.
“We do reduce the patient burden.”
Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the expansion will bring two similar programs run by Calvary public hospital and the Canberra Hospital together.
“No matter where you live in Canberra you’ll be able to access Hospital in the Home either in your own home or in a community health centre,” she said.
“It’s not only a cost-effective way to deliver health care, it’s a high-quality and safe way to deliver health care.”
Extra services will be rolled out by the end of the year.