Lifestyle

Responding to a chronic condition

Contributed

ALMOST half of all admissions to Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Services are patients with chronic disease and the number of people with chronic illnesses and diseases is increasing steadily.

The result, of course, is a significant increase in health care demand.

By 2026-27, unless changes are made to how this group is cared for, that figure could increase by as much as 116%.

>>More Lifestyle News

Chronic diseases include coronary heart disease and heart failure, stroke, diabetes, renal disease, respiratory disorders, chronic mental illness, cancer, arthritis and osteoporosis.

It costs the health system about $70,000 a year for a patient requiring in-patient haemodialysis.

One in five admitted to hospital has diabetes.

For this reason, the SCHHS plans to develop specialised share care pathways for chronic diseases.

This proposed model could save the Queensland health system more than $500,000 a year.

Measures can be taken to minimise the burden of these diseases, not only for the patient but also for the service. Ideally, patients receive interim treatment in the community.

Type 2 diabetes is an example where shared care clinics have been set up so treatment of uncomplicated diabetes can be treated in the community.

Clinical Director of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Dr Shyam Sunder said the health service had strategies to liaise with general practitioners and the community at large.

"We have partnered with the Sunshine Coast Division of General Practitioners (Focus Health Network) to take hospital outpatient clinics to the community," he said.

Dr Sunder said local specialist endocrinologists had regular sessions in GP clinics, giving a seminar and then reviewing patients with the general practitioner.

This provides the GPs with education and upskilling in the management of complex issues.

This system benefits patients and GPs, and reduces the burden on outpatient services at the public hospital.

The same shift in community-based education and provision of care is happening for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a chronic lung disease.

Dr Michael Bint, director of Respiratory Medicine, said chronic lung disease was the fourth largest cause of death and it was a disease that could, in many cases, be helped with preventative measures.

"Seven to 10% of the adult population have a chronic lung disease, mostly chronic bronchitis and emphysema," Dr Bint said.

"If we have about 380,000 people on the Coast, about 300,000 of them are adults.

"That means we've got about 20,000-30,000 people with COPD, 50-60% of those would be severe and only about 10-20% would know they have the disease," he said.

"We have a huge population, most of whom don't even know they have a problem, and so aren't doing what they need to be doing.

"They become acutely unwell with an infection in their lungs, they require admission to hospital and receive treatment and then they leave the hospital only for it to happen again," he said.

"We're trying to break that cycle. We plan to identify the patients when they're in hospital and then involve a respiratory care team to follow them up in the community maintaining close liaison with the patient's GP.

"What we want to do is have staff who work in the community so a patient can be discharged from hospital and followed up with their GP with the help of the respiratory nurses.

"Then the next time they get into trouble, they don't need to come to hospital."

That's different to what happens now.

Currently patients face an average of six to seven days spent in hospital, they come back to the hospital as an outpatient where they see the specialist a couple of times and then go back to the community only for the cycle to happen again.

The primary cause of chronic kidney disease in our community is diabetes. Chronic kidney disease has a significant cost to the community, particularly if patients require dialysis treatment.

Across the Coast there are in-centre haemodialysis treatment units in Caloundra, Nambour, and Gympie. Nambour General Hospital has a home haemodialysis training unit and a peritoneal dialysis unit.

Dr Peter Hollett, a service director for Medical Services Group and a renal specialist, said the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service offered a comprehensive home dialysis service.

These patients would otherwise be admitted.

"Because of the complexity of the medical conditions our patients suffer from, our models of care need to be responsive to these demands," he said.

"In the future we're planning multi-disciplinary clinics with a number of different sub-specialists and general physicians seeing the patients.

"This will hopefully improve the efficiency of the services in the sense that the patient won't have to come and see multiple specialists at different times on different days."

Topics:  chronic disease chronic illness health care sunshine coast hospital


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Nationals will not stop Essential Energy job cuts

Essential Energy workers are facing forced redundancies within weeks, according to unions.

Nationals leader rules out blocking Essential Energy's 600 job cuts

Military-style shark first aid kits on stand-by for surfers

Specialised shark kits will be on stand-by when the Byron Bay Boardriders paddle out tomorrow.

"As club president I have a responsibility to protect members”

Why we need sharks and sharks need us

Tagging sharks is something done with care

Why we can't live without sharks

Local Partners

Commercial fishers get extension, but it makes no difference

THE deadline for NSW fishers to decide whether to buy back into the industry has been pushed back two months in what industry leaders call a pointless move.

Five things to do in Ballina this week

ICON: Renee Geyer is coming to Ballina.

Music, theatre, culture and more

Elvis is about to leave the building for good

FOR THE LAST TIME: Elvis impersonator, Craig Teys, will perform for the last time at the Slipway Hotel on December 3.

"I wouldn't change it for anything. But it is time to finish.”

WATCH: Local artists featured on ABC's iView

DOCUMENTARY: Behind the scenes of Createability short film Corey the Warrier are Yuin/Bundjalung man and painter Corey Stewart and filmmaker Isabel Darling.

Short films feature local artists living with disabilities

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

The dead help solve the case

Debut novel delivers on wit, violence and shock

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

2000 jobs at multi-million dollar Ipswich project

INSIDE: Artist's impressions of the interior of the new Eastern Heights aged care precinct.

Sub-contractors needed to build $15m aged care facility

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!