Skip to main content

Our Region, Our People: Meet aged care project team

Published 27 November 2023

Experts consider a multidisciplinary GP-led model for Residential Aged Care Homes (RACH)

Three core components of healthcare delivery have been suggested for aged care.

The results of a completed project have proposed an innovative model of GP-led primary health care services for residential aged care homes (RACH).

Funded by Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) and led by the Townsville Hospital and Health Service (HHS), the quality improvement project suggests a primary focus on three core streams of healthcare delivery involving a nurse practitioner service, a primary care company, and a contribution by each residential aged care home where the service is established.

Report co-lead Dr Toni Weller said the quality improvement project suggested there was a need for a sustainable GP-led primary healthcare model to be developed over the next 15 years.

‘‘We know a GP-led model that caters to some of our most vulnerable community members will deliver best practice care, while also aligning with recommendations implemented from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety,’’ Dr Weller said.

‘‘The proposed Residential Aged Care Solution (RACS) model is designed to build on and support existing local GP services, as well as develop complementary alternative service structures in the future.

‘‘It also seeks to further develop relationships that provide patient-centred timely access to co-ordinated GP-led care with flexible staffing models at our aged care centres.

‘‘The model also provided RACHs with structured nurse practitioner-led acute and review ward rounds, with the aim to prevent unnecessary transfer to Townsville University Hospital’s emergency department and reduce the deterioration of a patient’s condition through early in-home care from highly skilled nursing staff.’’

Dr Weller said improving how the RACH GP network functioned, while also future proofing the region through recruitment of young GPs to the RACH sector, was at the heart of the report’s findings.

“The model hopes to ensure job satisfaction, balanced working conditions, and fair financial remuneration for our GPs working in the RACH sector to allow people to concentrate on providing the high standard of compassionate care they all want to give,” Dr Weller said.

“By building stability and sustainability for our workforce we can ensure we are working together across the health system to deliver the best care for residents of RACHs.”

Based on the work of the team, Townsville HHS was provided with funding from Queensland Health to further develop nurse practitioner clinical services available to local RACH residents. The nurse practitioner service (NPS) component of this suggested model of care will provide the basis for this service.

"Our first steps will be to further codesign and finalise what this service will look like and how it will operate,’’ Dr Weller said.

‘‘A key of the model’s development will be working with residents, families, GPs, emergency care teams, RACHs, and other primary care providers before a trial is implemented.’’

Project team members include:

  • Townsville HHS General Practice Liaison Officer Dr Toni Weller
  • Townsville HHS Administration Officer Tahnee Pedersen
  • Townsville HHS Frailty Intervention Team (FIT) members Dr Jane Dutson (Emergency), nurse practitioner candidates Bethany Roche and Helen Hatchard
  • Local community GP with an interest in aged care Dr Chris Stelmaschuk.

The final report is available on the NQPHN website.

Pictured from left are Townsville Hospital and Health Service (HHS) nurse practitioner candidate Bethany Roche, Townsville University Hospital Frailty Intervention Team (FIT) team clinical lead Dr Jane Dutson, local community GP (with an interest in aged care) Dr Chris Stelmaschuk, Townsville HHS nurse practitioner candidate Helen Hatchard and Townsville HHS general practice liaison officer Dr Toni Weller.

Last updated: 27 November 2023