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This was an innovation project supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Lead organisation

Beechworth Health

Partners

  • Albury Wodonga Health
  • Gateway Health
  • Indigo North Health
  • Indigo Shire
  • John Richards Centre Rural Ageing Research
  • North East Health Wangaratta
  • Upper Hume Primary Care Partnership
  • Yackandandah Health

Summary

Healthcare has become complex, fragmented, busy and expensive for older people, and hospitalisation can lead to a decline in mobility, thinking skills and the ability for older people to care for themselves.

Age-friendly environments that ensure older people are engaging in healthy behaviours and are socially connected, respected and valued can improve their quality of life and help to prevent or delay many health problems related to ageing and chronic disease.

Drawing from two international, evidence-based models – the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) 4Ms framework and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) guidelines – a group of rural health services from Indigo Shire in northeast Victoria worked with US experts, local academics, local council, and consumers to co-design an age-friendly, person-centred approach to delivering care to older people in rural communities.

Aim

To answer four key questions: 

  • Is the IHI Age-Friendly Health System applicable to Australian rural health conditions?
  • What existing models of care in the region align with the 4Ms framework?
  • Would implementing an age-friendly rural health system be of economic benefit?
  • Can an acceptable implementation plan for the local health system be developed?

Outcomes

  • Developed the Indigo 4Ms framework, a framework to deliver better care for older people living in regional and rural Victoria that has been endorsed by clinicians and consumers and can be used in any care setting
  • Demonstrated that the framework can improve patient health and social outcomes and potentially achieve significant cost savings
  • Identified strategies to help health services implement the Indigo 4Ms framework

Update

May 2020 – Beechworth Health Service and Northeast Health Wangaratta intend to continue progress in building an age-friendly health system in northeast Victoria, although further discussion is required to identify which structures and processes will be sustained.

Page last updated: 18 Dec 2020

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