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New visiting medical service targets aged care in the Goldfields

10 April, 2008

Older people living in the Goldfields are set to benefit from a new visiting medical service that will see doctors specialising in geriatric services visiting Esperance and Kalgoorlie each month.

In a partnership agreement between WA Country Health Service and Osborne Park Hospital’s Department of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, doctors will fly to Esperance and Kalgoorlie to provide aged care services including medical assessment of health problems and medication reviews.

WA Country Health Service Aged Care Director Jenny Stevens said the visiting geriatric medical service was part of WACHS’ commitment to improving aged care services in regional areas.

“The new service will see a geriatrician visit the Goldfields each month to assess people over the age of 65 and indigenous people over the age of 45,” Stevens said.

“Geriatricians specialise in dealing with older people’s medical problems and chronic illness, with a focus on optimising quality of life and functional ability.”

The visiting geriatricians will comprehensively assess and provide advice on the management of a range of health conditions, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • arthritis
  • chronic heart and lung disease
  • general declining health and impaired overall function
  • incontinence
  • osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • stroke
  • sensory problems (especially vision and hearing problems)
  • mood disorders.

WA Country Health Service – Goldfields Regional Director Geraldine Ennis has been a keen supporter of the new service for older people living in the region.

“The service will also provide valuable educational support to hospital doctors, nurses and general practitioners within the region in partnership with the local GP network,” Stevens said.

“In addition, the extra medical support in the region will enhance the existing Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) which helps older people in the community to access the appropriate services that will enable them to remain at home or, where this is not possible, to choose the right long term care for their needs.”

The Aged Care Assessment Teams in Kalgoorlie and Esperance will run monthly clinics with the geriatrician in attendance.  Referral to the geriatricians is through GPs.