Coviu is always on the lookout for new information about telehealth in Australia, particularly when it comes to funding under Medicare or other Government programs. We've recently discovered a relatively unknown piece of information, that could drastically change the way our elderly population is receiving care.
Knowledge is power, so if you are in the aged care industry or know someone who is receiving care, you may want to read on.
The Australian Government funds a range of Aged Care programs that cater to various levels of needs. Two of these programs include the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and the Home Care Packages Program (HCP).
The CHSP is designed to provide financial support to older Australians who may need short term or basic ongoing assistance, but can generally manage on their own. Some services covered by the program include help around the house, transport, home modifications, meals, nursing and allied health care.
The HCP provides a greater level of assistance and is designed to enable tailored, support packages to be created for the care recipient. There is a much larger pool of funding available, but recipients are means tested to determine their out of pocket cost. There are 4 levels of HCP funding, based on the needs of the individual and the home care provider will work with the recipient to determine what services they need.
It's a little known fact that both of these programs include funding for telehealth services.
Telehealth, in this context, can be anything from video conferencing to the use of digital technology and remote monitoring.
Under the CHSP, allied health services such as physiotherapy, podiatry, nutritional advice and speech pathology as well as nursing services can be offered via telehealth technology, if this is appropriate for the care recipient.
Telehealth services are also included in the HCP to ensure access to timely and appropriate care.
This is great news for older Australians, many of whom have physical disabilities which make travel to various appointments difficult and time consuming. This is also particularly useful for rural and remote Australians who can access a greater level and quality of care, without the need for excessive travel.
Care recipients of these programs can attend telehealth consultations from the comfort of their own home. The Australian government can also achieve cost savings by reducing the resources usually spent on assisted travel to healthcare appointments or the recipient's home.
Telehealth has seen success in aged care, achieving equal or better outcomes than that of face-to-face appointments, in aged care or palliative facilities, rural hospitals and in-home care environments.
In addition, research papers continue to highlight the ability for telehealth to improve loneliness and social inclusion among older populations. Compiled results of 6 telehealth aged care academic studies revealed that patients who experienced daily telehealth consultations reported an increased sense of connection and lower levels of isolation. They also reported an increase in their social activities when compared to participants who receive the usual home care visits or phone calls.
If you are a healthcare provider offering services under these initiatives, or if you know someone who is a recipient, consider telehealth as part of their integrated care package.
Plenty of healthcare services can be effectively provided via video consultations, and it may just improve the quality of life of elderly Australians.
If you want to know more about Coviu, please don't hesitate to contact us.