BASS Coast Health (BCH) will relocate 11 sub-acute beds from the Wonthaggi Hospital wards into the adjacent Armitage House aged care facility.
The service changes aim to make better use of existing facilities and expand services available to the local community.
The move will make better use of the vacant areas in Armitage House and enable the creation of a specialist sub-acute ward environment, whilst also maintaining the specialist residential care program.
BCH will continue to maintain the Armitage Residential Care Service and will seek funding to increase the number of sub-acute inpatient beds available to serve the community into the future.
BCH CEO Jan Child said Armitage House has the capacity to provide care to 30 patients and residents.
“It is ideally located on the Wonthaggi campus close to all acute facilities and as well as providing excellent care, it also offers a well maintained and homely environment,” she said.
“The infrastructure of Armitage however, is no longer competitive in the residential care sector where there is a greater expectation of single rooms and en-suites by prospective residents.”
According to Ms Child, the occupancy rate at Armitage House has reduced over the past years, leaving close to 20 beds empty.
Sub-acute patients are those who require rehabilitation or specialised therapy for several weeks following an acute illness including fractures or strokes.
Ms Child said Armitage House has the necessary infrastructure to provide optimal care for these patients.
“We will be able to develop improved treatment areas and optimise the therapy areas available to sub-acute patients,” Ms Child said.
“We will also be able to develop a better care environment for those patients who require specialist palliative care.”
The change frees up space inside the Wonthaggi Hospital wards, which will enable an increase in the number of beds available for medical and surgical patients.
“As a result of the move, we will be able to increase the number of acute beds available to our community and allow for a greater number of people to be treated locally,” Ms Child said.
According to BCH’s director of Emergency Services Dr James Taylor, there are times when the Wonthaggi Hospital experiences high demand, but has a corresponding lack of available beds.
“The wards, as they are currently set out, are fully occupied at most times, which means that a number of patients are transferred to other health services rather than treated locally,” he said.
“Relocating the sub-acute program to Armitage House will not only ensure Armitage can be better utilised, it also ensures additional beds can be made available in the acute care setting for busy times.”
24/7 nurses for Griffiths Point
BCH also announced that nurses will now be on site 24 hours a day at the Griffiths Point Lodge residential aged care facility at San Remo.
Ms Child said Griffiths Point is not a purpose-built facility.
“It’s not built for people who become frail at the end of their time and traditionally if someone has a fall or something like that at Griffiths Point, they have to ship them off in an ambulance,” she said.
“We’re going to move some of our nursing staff into Griffiths Point so there are nurses on site 24 hours a day.
“That will mean we’ll be able to provide care for residents longer into the future and hopefully stop shipping them down the highway to get assessed or treated.”