A new angle on aged care admissions

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Our Admissions Team is turning the residential aged care admissions process on its head and it’s having astounding results.

Just ask the elderly woman who is about to move in to one of our aged care homes after 18 months in hospital.

Or the resident who was considered by other agencies as too aggressive to place, who is now settled and thriving at one of our sites.

“We’ve had quite a few successful placements where people haven’t been able to be placed elsewhere,” our Manager of Aged Care Admissions Raechel Goldsmith says.

“We’ve reviewed them, we’ve learnt what their triggers are, why they were this way, looked at them in the wider picture and then brought them into our aged care with the right systems in place.

“We are looking at the person as a person and we are planning the admission, rather than it being reactionary, so people are set up to succeed.”

Raechel, who joined UCWPA in April last year, has dubbed the initiative PACE It – which stands for Planned Aged Care Entry.

She devised PACE It during her first few weeks on the job when she could see a need for system-wide change.

“The danger with aged care is quite often it is reactionary – the carer or the client becomes sick and all of a sudden it’s, ‘Where do I go? What do I do?’” she says.

“I just thought, ‘It’s time to do things differently’.

“Instead of just getting a bed full, let’s make sure it’s the right bed for the right person.”

Raechel explains each case is different and many factors must be taken into account when planning a successful aged care placement.

Behavioural support around dementia and mental health, proximity to family and friends, and ensuring staff have the right training and expertise are all crucial to ensure a residents’ needs are met.

And the support is key not just for a resident, but for their loved ones too.

“It’s not just saying ‘we’ve got a bed available’ because the transition is difficult for everyone involved,” she says.

“You might have a husband and wife who have lived together for 60 years, and it’s heartbreaking.

“It’s about knowing that it’s hard and treating people with that respect and acknowledging it.

“It’s just looking at it from a different angle.”

And Raechel’s way of looking at things is certainly turning heads, with hospitals across Adelaide keen to learn about UCWPA’s advances.

She was invited to give a talk about aged care admissions at the Lyell McEwin Hospital for a gathering of professionals from various hospitals, in a bid to improve the transition process.

“Hospitals are calling it best practice and the feedback has been, ‘We have not seen this done before’.

“It’s been really good to get our name on the board.

“That was the whole reason I came to UCWPA – to get back to the people and make a difference.”