Improving the health and wellbeing of our aging population is one of our key priority areas. Our aim is to support and coordinate services for older people living in the community and those living in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF). 

Key Areas and Current Programs

As part of the Western Sydney Integrated Senior’s Health (WISH) committee, we are working in partnership with the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) to reduce health gaps within the Aged Care space. To achieve this, we are currently focussing on the following priority areas: 

  • Identifying at-risk older persons in the region
  • Improving management of dementia, including patients with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia
  • Supporting GPs to identify at-risk older persons
  • Improving medication use in the community and RACFs
  • Reducing preventable hospitalisations
  • Improving integrated care
  • Increase GPs capacity and capability to support end of life planning
  • Address appropriately skilled workforce shortage issues
  • Support improved integration and coordination of palliative care and end of life planning services and health care

Dementia

Dementia is a term that covers a range of conditions related to gradual brain function impairment and is commonly associated with memory loss. It is estimated that 12,788 people are living with dementia in Western Sydney. This is projected to increase by more than 200% by 2050.

We are currently funding The Dementia Care Navigator Program to address the service gap in this area. The program aims to help people with dementia and their carer’s in navigating the health and aged care service sectors, connecting them with services that are most suitable to their situation. Contact Dementia Australia for more information regarding the program. 

Falls Prevention

Falls among older people continue to be a public health concern, and injuries from falls can lead to functional decline. Older Australians are at an increased risk of falls, which increases the risk of osteoporosis, and bone and joint pain. Consultations with ambulance services in our region have highlighted falls among older people as a major issue. In 2016-17, a total of 3,635 people over the age of 65 years were hospitalised for fall-related injuries. 

We have commissioned New Edge Performance to run the Still Standing program, addressing the burden of fall-related injuries for seniors in Western Sydney, offering medium intensity group exercises and falls education programs delivered by an accredited Exercise Physiologist.

Due to COVID-19 the Still Standing program is on hold until further notice. If you haven’t expressed your interest and would like to, please submit your details on their website and they will contact you once restrictions are lifted and it is safe to resume. 

End of Life Planning

Advance Care Planning (ACP) involves a patient thinking about and communicating to others how they would like to be treated in the future if they have a condition where they can no longer speak for themselves. This may happen, for example, as a result of stroke, progressive dementia, or becoming unconscious from some form of accident or illness. 

Undertaking ACP means that the future decisions about a person’s care are more likely to reflect their wishes. ACP identifies sensitive issues and clarifies the actions an individual would prefer in certain medical situations should they occur in the future. For many reasons these topics of discussion between family, carers and GPs are often avoided.

Palliative Care

Ensuring that every person receives quality end of life care, including specialist palliative care where required, as they approach the end of their life remains one of the major challenges to health systems in developed nations around the world.

palliAGED is an online resource providing evidence-based information, practice guidance and resources on end of life and palliative care for aged care. Clinicians can also download the App to provide support at the point of care for advanced care planning, case management and symptoms and medicines related to end of life and palliative care issues.

CareSearch provides evidence-based end of life and palliative care information and resources for health professionals, patients, carers and families to enable informed decision making and quality care across the life span and health care system.

My Aged Care is the national contact centre for Government funded aged care services. Health professionals can also use this portal for referral, assessment and services.  

Services range from helping with daily tasks to end-of-life care, support for carers, respite care and access to residential aged care. Some services are available while the patient is living at home.  

All Aged Care services can be accessed through the My Aged Care website or by calling 1800 200 422

Resources and Links

Western Sydney health professionals can access  Older Person’s Health on the Western Sydney HealthPathways website. To gain access to contact HealthPathways at healthpathways@wentwest.com.au or call 8811 7100.

Progressing Health Now

Find out more about other Programs and Priorities for Western Sydney.