Year in review - Country
Country Services has bedded down a new model, laying the foundations for a sustainable business that is prepared for growth and will continue to help increase access to community and health services in rural and remote areas of Western Australia.
The transformation to this new model involved a review and reshape of every element of Country Services’ operations and has resulted in minimised administration, a centralised scheduling function and strengthened frontline leadership to increase support for the dispersed direct care staff.
Technology has become a key enabler for staff management and client support. Country Services participated in a National Broadband Network (NBN) Telehealth pilot in Geraldton, Western Australia. Funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, the pilot clearly demonstrated how broadband technology can improve access to healthcare services in rural areas.
Of the more than 120 clients who took part in the pilot, 68 percent claimed that the service allowed them to identify early on that they were becoming sick and were required to access their doctor.
Throughout the past financial year, it was a priority that all staff had access to mobile technology and frontline supervisors to video technology as well. This has allowed all staff to have more face to face meetings, bringing them together as a team without distance being a barrier. This technology also reduces the need to travel in turn increases the time spent with clients.
Technology has also helped provide healthcare access to some of the most rural and remote clients with the introduction of diabetes education and speech therapy by telehealth. This has been possible thanks to our partnerships with Medicare Locals and WA Country Health Services.
We were able to increase our services in the South West and Great Southern with the introduction of the Community Visitors Scheme and Transitional Care Program, allowing people to return to the community after hospitalisation with increased home support for a short period of time.
Many of Country Services health centres and community care centres in remote and rural areas have also been upgraded including our Hyden, Collie, and Eneabba. Nursing clinics have been opened in Bunbury, Busselton and Northam, with plans to have clinics available in many more centres over the next year.
Working in country Western Australia is not achievable without solid partnerships and Country Services would like to acknowledge the support of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, WA Country Health Services, the Medicare Locals, the Commonwealth and State Governments, Lottery West and of all of the local communities we operate in.