FINDING SOLUTIONS: West Moreton Hospital and Health Service board chair Michael Willis.
FINDING SOLUTIONS: West Moreton Hospital and Health Service board chair Michael Willis. Rob Williams

The plan to keep patients out of hospital beds

SINCE coming on board with the MeCare program five months ago, Anthony Kermond can't remember the last time he felt as good as he does.

The 62-year-old from Laidley signed up to the innovative program, the first of its kind in Australia, late last year and has lost 18kgs so far.

It is delivered in partnership with Philips and assists chronically ill patients achieve better health by using technology, in-home support and education to take control of their health and stay out of hospital.

A multidisciplinary clinical team including doctors, nurses and other health professionals use a telehealth and digital care program customised to each patient.

Patients use in-home care management technology to check weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and breathing capacity each day.

Patients upload the information to a tablet and it is automatically relayed to the MeCare team, which responds to any inconsistencies that may signal early signs of the deterioration or the person's health.

As well as having regular video-conference contact with a nurse, patients can also make contact through phone conversations and home visits, and have access to a wider support team including a doctor, social worker and pharmacist.

"I've never been better," Mr Kermond said.

"I haven't looked back. My blood pressure is better and I'm losing weight.

"I'm doing it all (from home). My missus does a good job of looking after me and helping me. Life is pretty good."

He hasn't had to return to the hospital since jumping on board.

Mr Kermond aims to drop down to at least 150kgs by the end of the year and his improvement so far has pushed him to join a gym in the near future.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service board chair Michael Willis believed this program was a prime example of where health care is heading.

It was recognised with a high commendation at the 2018 Queensland Health Awards for Excellence.

"People are better off being out of hospital beds," he said.

"(The program) is for people who have been regular attendees in the emergency department based on existing physical and complex health needs.

"These results are shared with our partners. Their willingness to partner with West Moreton Health has made it possible for us to help people stay well and to stay out of hospitals when they don't need to be there."

MeCare was introduced in 2016 as part of West Moreton Health's response to tackle the growing burden of chronic disease within the region.