Victoria puts homes at the centre of healthcare

November 14, 2020

More Victorians will be able to recover from illness or surgery in the comfort of their own home, as an innovative approach to care widely adopted through the pandemic is today funded as part of the new Better at Home initiative.

To support the initiative, the Minister for Health Martin Foley will provide $120.9 million over three years for health services to deliver clinic appointments, chemotherapy, post-surgical care, rehabilitation and other hospital services in people’s homes.

Chief Executive of the VHA says any investment in programs that give Victorians more choice in where and how they access healthcare services is another example of the silver lining of the global pandemic, and a shining example of the healthcare sector responding to the needs of the community.

‘As our consultations with members have shown over the past few months, the silver lining of the pandemic has been the many innovative approaches to healthcare delivered in ways that best suit the community,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘The Better at Home initiative will ensure the key innovations that emerged during the pandemic last long into the future and providing lasting impact for Victorians living across the state.’

The funding, which closely aligns with key recommendations from the VHA in recent months, is particularly welcome for regional communities and health services, and will be used whenever it is safe, clinically appropriate and consistent with a patient’s preference.

The funding also includes $12.5 million for virtual care technology to sustain the high rates of telehealth achieved during the pandemic and support the development of innovative new models of 21st century care.

A further $5.8 million will help health services to engage the clinical workforce in this transformation of care in Victoria, through training, support, and clinical redesign which will provide more options to receive care at home.

Through Better at Home, up to 50,000 chemotherapy appointments could be delivered in living rooms across Victoria, or 50,000 days Victorians previously spent in hospital recovering or undertaking rehabilitation can be done from the comfort of home – freeing up around 160 hospital beds.

The initiative will also improve quality of care, with clinical evidence showing patients achieve better outcomes at home, where they avoid the physical deterioration, sleep disruption and social isolation associated with hospital stays.

Funding will be available for health services to design and implement shared service models for home-based and virtual care, enabling them to upscale and specialise quickly.

Health services will be invited to submit expressions of interest to access the funding and the VHA will work closely with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure members remain informed and supported.