Hundreds of Minda clients have avoided unnecessary visits to hospital thanks to a partnership with the South Australia Virtual Care Service (SAVCS).
Minda and SAVCS celebrated one-year of partnership last Friday at INC Cafe, providing a perfect opportunity to highlight the reduction in emergency department (ED) presentations since the service commenced.
The service provides an alternative pathway for people living with a disability to receive the care they need in the most appropriate setting through their disability support workers and hospital specialists.
A total of 223 Minda clients have used the service since its inception. Of the 604 calls to SAVCS, around 85 per cent of clients received the care they needed without having to attend hospital.
Living with epilepsy and other health issues has presented many obstacles for Minda client Emma. In the past, having a seizure almost certainly resulted in a trip to the hospital, much to the frustration of her mother, Patricia.
“Most of the times when the ambulance came, they would feel obliged to take her to hospital. By the time they got to hospital, Emma would be out of the seizure,” Patricia said.
“I cannot tell you the hours we have spent in emergency, at Flinders in particular, and she was fine - she didn't need to go to hospital.”
Patricia said the service has reduced the stress that is often associated with health concerns, due to the ability to access the service on days when hospitals are closed.
“There was a rash just recently and it was suspected that it was shingles. It was a Sunday and we didn't know what to do because we couldn't get to a doctor. We had one of the SAVCS doctors have a look at it and they said that everything was fine,” Patricia said.
“The pressure has been taken off, and for that reason, I can't express how thankful we are.”
South Australian Minister for Health and Wellbeing Chris Picton MP explained that visiting the hospital can be a stressful experience for anyone, and with countless hospitals operating at capacity, visitors can be forced to face exorbitant waiting times.
With the ability to treat people in the comfort of their own homes, Mr Picton said the service has had a positive impact on the state's health system.
“Our emergency departments are busy, complex and noisy environments. If we are able to provide care to somebody in the comfort of their home or supported accommodation, then that's better for them and the health system as a whole,” Minister Picton said.
“What we have seen over the past year is that this partnership has already been able to reduce the number of presentations to the emergency department."
The State Government has already committed $67.8 million of funding over the next five years to make the service permanent, allowing it to expand and increase the number of people able to access the service.
“We want to make sure that through our model of care, families have complete confidence that this service is not going to deliver a lesser outcome for their loved ones,” Mr Picton said.