People living in rural and remote Australia have challenges in accessing healthcare, with older people particularly impacted due to challenges such as frailty, immobility, lack of access to transport or limited income.
Face-to-face restrictions related to COVID-19 meant many people were unable to access allied health support, resulting in a decline in overall health.
Expansion of telehealth
Queensland aged and community care provider Prescare has traditionally delivered services face-to-face via in-home care, respite centers and their allied health Day Therapy Centre (DTC). Widening geographical areas, strained capacity and COVID-19 restrictions meant Prescare needed to innovate.
They decided to facilitate the rapid implementation of telehealth capacity to ensure continuity of clinical services, reduction in travel expenses, increased access in rural areas, maximisation of therapy time, reduction in social isolation as well as the adherence of social distancing and infection control.
Partnership with Conpago
Prescare partnered with Conpago to create and implement a unique technological application to deliver healthcare and social supports into rural and isolated communities, to meet the specific needs of the aged care community.
In place since March 2020, the partnership has delivered allied health services (Exercise Physiology, Dietetics, OT and Physiotherapy) to an at-risk aged care population during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have to date delivered many hundreds of hours of therapeutic care via the Conpago App.
Prescare was previously only been able to provide nutritional support within Brisbane South due to the geographical location of their dietician. The Conpago partnership has allowed clients from across the aged care planning regions to access nutritional care in both a one-on-one and group setting from the comfort of their home, while remaining connected to their support and peer networks.
Improvements in care
The partnership with Conpago has improved health outcomes by ensuring the continuity of clinical and exercise class services while removing barriers to entry, supporting wellness and reablement.
It has expanded the geographical reach utilising Brisbane-based clinical staff to service Townsville, Bundaberg and Mackay, improving service delivery.
There has also been improved accessibility with voice to text, closed caption and translation options, and greater capacity for social and clinical connection via features within the Conpago app.
The experience has given Prescare the insight to consider opportunities for future growth and innovation to provide further support to their clients, in particular:
PresCare with Conpago was a Finalist in the innovAGEING Realising Wellness and Reablement Award 2020.