Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Nov-Dec 2014 Contents Models of care
From collaborations with the acute and
retirement living sectors to the development of
new workforce approaches, aged care providers are pioneering
future models of delivering care and services. AAA presents
snapshots of three initiatives to watch.
For an extended report
on these initiatives
and others, go to www.
com.au and search
'breaking new ground'
It has taken eight years of careful research, planning,
negotiations and development but leading South Australian
aged care provider ACH Group recently opened a $46 million,
120-place treatment, teaching and research facility at the
Repatriation General Hospital in Daw Park, South Australia.
ViTA is a game changing sub-acute service linking acute,
transition, rehabilitation, respite, community and residential aged
care. It will deliver re-enablement services, both empowering
people to return to their own homes after short-term stays or to
live more independently in long-term care.
It also aims to reduce the likelihood of readmission to hospital
and premature admission to residential care.
ACH Group CEO Mike Rungie believes ViTA will change the
way aged care is delivered and how staff are attracted to and
trained in the sector.
"There will be swathe of ViTAs in next five to 10 years as the
model will be there to be picked up. There will be a national ViTA
movement to share practices and learning," he predicts.
ViTA has taken existing state and Commonwealth health,
veterans and aged care funding streams and developed a
facility co-located with Flinders University offering 20
rehabilitation, 40 transitional care and 60 long and short-term
residential care rooms.
Flinders will operate the Clinical Teaching and Education
Centre, which will facilitate professional practice for medical,
nursing and health students in the care of older people, and
opportunities for inter-professional training. The search is on for
an internationally respected professor to head up the centre.
Former state and commonwealth bureaucrat and consultant
Jeff Fiebig and two other ACH Group staff Trudy Sutton and
Leah Watkins have driven the ViTA project since its inception.
"Most organisations wouldn't think in long-term timeframes
like the eight years ViTA took; certainly Commonwealth funding
requirements and state budgets don't talk in those timeframes.
But when we explained to our board and to governments, there
was no resistance but encouragement," Rungie says.
Kate Barrett from the University of Adelaide has started a
two year evaluation, measuring health improvements, consumer
satisfaction and use of hospital and aged care. Training of a new
workforce has begun with doctors, nurses, dieticians, social
workers, occupational therapists all working in teams to drive a
new form of aged care, Rungie hopes.
There is no one model, overseas or local, for ViTA. "We took
various elements mainly from hospital models. What's unique
is bringing things together in one place, with some scale and
flexibility over and between funding lines."
R&D costs have been high, and Rungie and his team have had
to satisfy the board and ACH Group's partners that it has been
The second ViTA that ACH Group is planning won't take eight
years to get up and running but there are numerous things to pull
off before it comes into operation, Rungie says. "For example it
could take three ACAR rounds to get the places we need."
Rungie, who has been at ACH Group for 25 years, acknowledges
that big projects like ViTA "need long term leadership for projects
with long-term timelines."
ViTA meets government objectives of keeping people healthy
and productive longer, paying for more care themselves and
taking greater control over their lives, he says.
"I hope that the bean counters can get their heads around the
fact that ViTA can save astronomically more by reducing demand
for health and aged care, compared to the private equity savings
of just doing things cheaper with economies of scale." n
Go to: ach.org.au
A game changer
ACH Group's ViTA links acute, transition, rehabilitation, respite,
community and residential aged care, reports Megan Stoyles.
Vita will deliver re-enablement services and aged care
Photo: Michael Mullan Photography
46 | NOVEMBER -- DECEMBER 2014 | AAA
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