COVID-19 home visiting pilot program

Status
Active

$987,860 (GST ex.)

Funding Amount

4 July 2022 – 31 October 2022

Duration

Whole region

Locations

Overview

Promotional image for North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network's primary care home visit program.Under its ‘Living with COVID’ initiative, the Australian Government funded North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) to commission a home visit pilot program for patients affected by COVID-19.

The program was designed to provide timely clinical care for people who most need it, while avoiding unnecessary delays and escalations of care to acute health services. It was set up as a pilot program to explore unmet needs and the value of home visit services in response to surges in demand. It was established in response to surges in respiratory viruses during the 2022 winter season and the associated demand on primary care.

NWMPHN identified and commissioned 3 health services with established general practice respiratory clinics to provide home visiting services:

  • DPV Health in the northern NWMPHN region
  • cohealth in the central NWMPHN region
  • Sunshine City Medical Centre in the western NWMPHN region

The home visiting program was designed for patients who could not see their usual GP or did not have one, and for whom it was difficult or impossible to leave home due to COVID-19.

The program engaged visiting GPs and registered nurses to provide in-home care for patients (including carers and dependents) with COVID-19 symptoms and/or other health conditions requiring attention while a patient’s movement was restricted due to COVID-19 or other factors. GPs and registered nurses could manage medications, treat wounds, or provide assessment and management relating to COVID-19 and other chronic diseases and conditions.

More information on eligibility and referrals is available on the NWMPHN website.

Outcomes

The program is currently operating and will be evaluated upon completion. Its anticipated outcomes include:

  • accessible home-based care for people affected by COVID in the NWMPHN region
  • increased capacity of primary care to care for COVID affected patients
  • reduction in avoidable hospitalisations and presentations to emergency departments by providing early interventions in the home
  • providing insights on the potential strengths, benefits, cost effectiveness and replicability of the model for future commissioning activities.