In what is believed to be an Australian first, Goulburn Valley Health is the lead agency of a new consortium of 18 health services from northern and central Victoria and southern NSW that aims to provide care at home for senior Australians.
GV Health community care director Gordon Ross said the Community Interlink consortium, which includes Seymour Health, was being rolled out across northern Victoria and southern NSW.
It was launched in Shepparton last month.
Mr Ross said the consortium was formed after changes to Commonwealth Home Care funding in 2015 made it harder for smaller health agencies to continue providing home care.
Mr Ross said the reforms opened up the market to allow people to buy home-care packages funded through the Federal Government.
However, the reforms also mean that larger companies could step in and offer services on the open market.
He said by forming a consortium, each health service was able to provide sustainable home care in its own community.
‘‘We wanted to ensure that senior members of our communities would always have access to home care services from a locally governed provider,’’ Mr Ross said.
‘‘Local providers are those that can offer the highest level of support having local staff, with local knowledge and networks.’’
The consortium supports about 300 home-care clients regionally, with care co-ordinated via staff employed at the various health services.
GV Health chief executive Trevor Saunders said the idea was about helping senior citizens live independently.
‘‘This initiative is about ensuring they receive the best care and helping them to live independently in their own home for as long as possible; if they decide that’s where they want to be,’’ Mr Saunders said.
Euroa Health chief executive Wayne Sullivan said knowledge was the key.
‘‘Our knowledge of our rural community has helped us to gain a fantastic understanding of what kind of care is needed to best support our seniors,’’ Mr Sullivan said.
Home-care packages and services offer a range of support including meal preparation, home modifications, cleaning, transport, personal care, and medication management.
Who is involved?
Community Interlink members include: GV Health (lead agency), Euroa Health, Natalia Health, Numurkah District Health Service, Benalla Health, Seymour Health, Yarrawonga Health, Mansfield District Hospital, Northeast Health Wangaratta, Indigo North Health, Yea and District Memorial Hospital, Beechworth Health Service, Albury Wodonga Health, Tallangatta Health Service, Nexus Primary Health, Alexandra District Hospital, Gateway Health, and Kilmore and District Hospital.
For more information on Community Interlink services, phone 1300203203 or visit communityinterlink.org.au