The move aims to alleviate the strain on hospital resources and improve patient flow.
“These new dementia beds at The Repat will bridge the gap from hospital to longer-term care in the community,” Minister Chris Picton said, highlighting the importance of timely access to appropriate care for patients.
The additional beds, situated within HammondCare’s newly established care home at The Repat Health Precinct, come as a response to the prolonged delays South Australians face in accessing aged care services. Recent data from the Productivity Commission underscores the urgent need for such initiatives, revealing extended wait times for aged care placements and home care packages in the state.
“People with dementia shouldn’t be stuck in hospital longer than they need to waiting for an aged care bed. It’s not good for them and it’s not good for the health system,” Picton said.
The partnership with HammondCare allows patients with dementia, who would otherwise remain in hospital awaiting discharge, to access dedicated care at The Repat. While under the care of the referring local health networks, patients occupying these beds will receive specialised dementia care until longer-term placements are secured.
“This year alone, 150 new inpatient beds will open at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre, the Repat and Lyell McEwin Hospital,” Picton announced, highlighting the tangible steps being taken to expand capacity and enhance patient care across healthcare facilities.
This collaboration is part of SA Health’s broader efforts to enhance capacity and streamline patient care. Ongoing construction projects at The Repat, including the development of a new Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Unit and refurbishments for the Complex and Restorative (CARE) Service, further underscore the commitment to improving healthcare infrastructure.
The introduction of these dementia beds aims not only to free up hospital capacity but also to address challenges such as ambulance ramping. With ambulances spending significant time ramped outside hospitals, the need for efficient patient flow becomes paramount.
In response to these challenges, the Malinauskas Government is set to open 150 new inpatient beds this year, signaling a concerted effort to mitigate bed-block and improve overall patient care. A rapid initiative has also been commissioned to address discharge delays, focusing on facilitating timely transfers to appropriate aged care facilities.