SOME of the Fraser Coast's most vulnerable will receive enhanced care when they present to the region's emergency departments thanks to a new specialist service.

Introduced into the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service about a month ago, the Geriatric Emergency Department Intervention (GEDI) service is aimed at making sure people aged 70 and older not only receive the right treatment quickly but receive the home and community support they need.

Emergency staff specialist doctor Fiona Baker, who is part of the GEDI team in both Hervey Bay and Maryborough, said the program aimed to reduce the time people spent in the emergency department.

"The GEDI team is made up of doctors, senior nurses, physiotherapists and allied health staff that specialise and look at elderly patients by doing a geriatric assessment and finding out the right needs for that particular person," she said.

"That might mean we need to set up a referral for them once they are out of hospital, connect with their GP or connect them with My Aged Care to put in things like rails in the home."

WBHHS board chair Peta Jamieson said our ageing population and rising number of emergency presentations meant it was a priority to support initiatives that improved the care of frail and elderly patients.


"The GEDI model provides an early assessment of patient needs, which helps to streamline and improve supported care through the emergency department and on to the most appropriate place for their care," she said.


Following a successful trial on the Sunshine Coast, the GEDI program at Hervey Bay and Maryborough hospitals has been funded by the State Government with annual funding of almost $1.5 million.

The trial also showed no significant increase in returning to the ED with the same medical issue within the next 28 days.



WBHHS acting chief executive officer Robyn Bradley said GEDI clinicians were able to ensure older people were not unnecessarily admitted to hospital.


"An additional $280,000 in equipment funding has been used to purchase equipment to be used by the patients," she said.