General practitioner involvement in residential aged care is both a challenge and an opportunity to improve the quality of life of those in residential aged care. This publication provides a valuable resource for general practitioners.
As the number of older people increases in Australia, so too does the complexity of the management of chronic health concerns. As general practitioners, our challenge is to provide appropriate care of the highest quality to older people regardless of where they are living. General practitioners working collaboratively with other health providers play a key role in delivering high quality primary care to older people living in residential aged care settings.
Medical care of older persons in residential aged care facilities (the 'silver book') aims to provide general practitioners, and other health professionals including residential aged care nurses, with a resource for delivering quality health care in residential aged care facilities. The overall content was developed and reviewed by a national taskforce of health professionals working across the aged care sector. In addition, general practitioners, consumer representatives and aged care experts provided valuable input and feedback.
This 4th edition builds on the excellent foundations provided in the previous three editions. The title remains the same, however there is a substantial amount of new content reflecting the increasing influence of technological developments including the internet. The clinical care section has been expanded. Two new sections provide an overview of the residential aged care sector, and organisational systems and tools for streamlining and integrating systems of care. There are increased opportunities for improving quality of care for residents by all members of the multidisciplinary team. Australian Government initiatives provide for general practitioners to carry out comprehensive medical assessments and contribute to residents' care plans. There is also provision for residential medication management reviews, and referrals to allied health and dental services. Advance care planning and access to new models for end of life care are also included; stressing the importance of the involvement of the resident, their family, and residential aged care facility staff.
This publication encourages collaboration between health professionals and provides suggestions for implementing systematic care involving residents, their general practitioners, residential aged care facility staff, families and other carers.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners thanks Dr Denise Ruth, Ms Sheila Neve, the members of our national taskforce, and all those who contributed to the preparation of this publication.
Professor Michael Kidd