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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2106 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

Professor Donald MacLellan, Professor of Surgery at the Canberra Clinical School, and Kimberley Pierce, the Assistant Director of Nursing for Surgical Services, in partnership with Community Care, are enthusiastic about the implementation of the pilot program, as it provides another opportunity to identify clinical practices and new technologies which can deliver optimal patient outcomes.

Evaluation of Medicare incentive programs identified that $3 was saved for every $2 that the Commonwealth allocated. That has to be very good use of money. Evaluations of the hospital in the home programs in Victoria show that, on average, 2.68 days are saved per patient admission. Again, that is a very impressive outcome. Analysis of productivity increases as a result of similar programs in New South Wales has shown that it is possible to shorten waiting lists, increase throughput and improve patient outcomes as long as resources are put into home-based acute care.

Complications and readmission rates are more dependent on technical problems with procedures than on the level of support in the home. Linkages will be established between the hospital in the home program, general practitioners, community-based nursing and allied health services, medical specialists in consulting rooms and the accident and emergency departments to accept referrals and to avoid unnecessary admissions to acute hospital beds for specifically targeted care.

Patients will make an informed consent to care under the policies of the pilot program. In circumstances where patients have complex care needs or are not in a position to make an informed consent, the agreement of carers or advocates will be sought prior to admission to the program.

Evaluation is an essential part of the pilot program. The pilot program will be continuously monitored and a comprehensive evaluation conducted in the second year of operation. The committee which is providing advice for the implementation of the program will examine options for a cost-effective evaluation of the program.

Hospital in the home programs in other States have been shown to have benefits for patients and carers as well as to facilitate more effective utilisation of hospital beds. The expected outcome of the hospital in the home program in the ACT is the development of a customer focused model of care which enables improved continuity, integration and coordination of acute and community services.

The hospital in the home program will commence in July this year and will operate as a pilot program for two years. The hospital in the home program is an example of this Government's commitment to the development and improvement of health care in the ACT. This program is very important to the general future of health in this country and I think it is very important to know that the focus will always be on the patient. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

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