While many hospital patients often wish they could be at home, it is becoming a more and more common occurrence for some people — and they don’t need to click their heels together three times to make it happen.

The Epworth HealthCare hospital in the home unit is designed to substitute acute home care for those who would otherwise need treatment in a traditional hospital bed.

As Epworth celebrates its centenary this month, the unit is also marking its 20 years of operation.

Associate Professor Michael Montalto, who heads the unit, said Epworth was the first private hospital to take on the challenge of offering acute hospital in the home service.

“We’ve shown we can manage in the last 20 years to do this safely and happily,” he said.

“Over 20 years we have successfully treated about 10,000 people at home. They appreciate the service.”

A clinical unit of the hospital, it has its own medical, nursing and administrative staff with full access to the technology and support services of the hospital.

Associate Prof Montalto said care was not minimised in any way if it was at home — they still had access to senior nurses, doctors, drugs, pathology all on call 24 hours a day.

“You are still a patient of the hospital, but at home,” he said.

“As medical science is progressing, a lot of people are doing wonderful things but they are more reliant on people coming in and out of the hospital which, for a lot of people, is a cumbersome and depressing scenario.

“If we can get some of that care for hospital in the home, they won’t be as reliant coming in.

“It also gives a proportion of patients hope that they won’t have to spend a lot of their remaining lives in hospital.”

The unit accepts patients from Epworth Richmond and its emergency department, Box Hill and Freemasons, as well as other hospitals and direct referrals from GP and consultants rooms.

Epworth will celebrate its centenary on February 27.

Courtesy: Geordie Cowan, Progress Leader, February 18, 2020


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