Photo: Longreach Pioneers Community.

An innovative rehabilitation service to help Central West residents return home sooner after a
hospital stay or avoid premature entry into residential care has started.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jane Hancock said the new service
at the RSL Pioneers Retirement Community in Longreach was a partnership between the
Central West Hospital and Health Service and RSL Care.

Ms Hancock said an initial four rehabilitation beds and associated therapy facilities had been
established at the Pioneers community by RSL Care.

“These beds will be in use as soon as possible but will depend upon when clinically appropriate
patients are ready for referral,’’ she said.

“Central West Health staff will provide the allied health services, medical care and rehabilitation
nursing support for the bed-based care in the Pioneers facility.

“RSL Care will provide the general nursing care and personal assistance required by the clients
using the bed-based rehabilitation service.’’

Ms Hancock said a further four non-bed-based rehabilitation places also now were available
within the Central West and additional places would be considered depending on demand.

“Our first non-bed based patient is already receiving this service,’’ she said.
Ms Hancock said the collaboration between Central West Health and RSL Care was an
excellent example of how individual health service providers could work together to maximise
the use of local resources.

“The end result, as is the case here, is a better and broader range of health services for Central
West residents,’’ she said.

The new service enables older residents who have been hospitalised to recover from their
hospital stay more quickly, as well as transition to ambulatory care at their home or a health facility closer to their home.

“It will also help give them more time to consider long-term options for aged care and avoid
having to enter a full residential aged care facility prematurely,’’ Ms Hancock said.

“People in the community who would benefit from rehabilitation as a result of illness or
increasing frailty also will be able to use this service to help maintain their independence.

“Previously, many patients who were transferred to larger centres for diagnosis and treatment
for conditions such as strokes or accidents had to remain there for lengthy periods of time to
access suitable rehabilitation services because of the lack of such services locally.

“This new service now provides patients with access to the ongoing rehabilitation care they
require within the Central West region and closer to home, family and friends.’’
RSL Care RDNS Chief Executive Officer Stephen Muggleton said supporting people to retain
and regain their independence was central to his organisation’s business.

“RSL Care RDNS supports health and wellness for more than 100,000 clients in their own
homes every year through our community nursing, home support and specialised services, and
for more than 5500 customers in our residential communities, including our Pioneers
community,’’ he said.

“We have a strong presence in regional Queensland and we are proud to be working with
Queensland Health to provide a service solution that will make life better for people living in
Longreach and further afield.”

Mr Muggleton said the Pioneers team looked forward to welcoming the first customers to the
new service, which would help revitalise health options and improve restorative care delivery in

“We are pleased to be able to provide Longreach residents who have been in hospital with
greater choice and opportunity to achieve their best health outcomes and stay as independent
as possible in the community they call home,” he said.

Central West Health Board Chair Jane Williams said the Longreach service would be supported
by allied health assistants based at Blackall Hospital and the Barcaldine and Winton
multipurpose health services.

“These allied health assistants will be able to facilitate the transition of local patients from full
hospital care to rehabilitation care at those facilities closer to their homes,’’ Ms Williams said.

“Under the supervision of allied health professionals, they will be able to provide ongoing
treatment and support.

“Medical specialists also will visit regularly to provide assessments, review patients’ progress
and provide advice to local staff about ongoing care.’’

Ms Williams said once the rehabilitation service at Longreach and the support services at
Blackall, Barcaldine and Winton were bedded down, Central West Health would look at
extending the program to other more remote facilities within the region.

Annual State Government funding of about $1.1 million for the new rehabilitation service was
announced in April 2016.

The funding comes from a $51.9 million program announced in the 2013–14 State Budget as
part of the four-year Revitalisation of Regional, Rural and Remote Services funding package.