HITH is spreading far & wide to the young and old
Hospital In The Home (HITH) at Northeast Health Wangaratta has been in operation for 24 years, having been selected to participate in the initial pilot program rolled out by the state government in 1994. Victoria is now widely recognised as a world leader in the delivery of HITH services, currently saving 900 hospital beds per day in Victoria. In context, this is greater than the capacity of any major metropolitan hospital.
HITH is a substitute for inpatient care and operates as an acute unit of NHW. Patients are admitted to HITH for a variety of treatment regimes including administration of either long or short term antibiotics, complex wound care such as negative pressure therapy, anticoagulation management and drain tube management. More recently HITH has expanded to include the care of babies transitioning home from the Special Care Nursery, having been born prematurely or underweight.
The HITH Unit at NHW has shown significant growth in recent years, currently recording the second highest activity rate of all sub-regional health services in the state. A snapshot of data demonstrates 5.6% of all patients having an overnight admission to Northeast Health Wangaratta have had a HITH component to their care. In the past twelve months, 341 patients have been admitted to HITH, accounting for a total of 2791 bed days.
The NHW HITH model of care is unique and allows for subcontracting to other subregional or small rural health services to deliver care. NHW relies on strong partnerships with these services and values these collaborative working relationships which have been formed over many years. These partnerships mean that patients can be admitted to HITH under a specialist consultant and have their care coordinated from NHW. Hospital treatment is home delivered to back roads and townships such as Mansfield, Benalla, Violet Town, Beechworth, Yarrawonga, Whitfield and parts of the King Valley, and also Bright and the greater Alpine region.
Variety is not exclusive to the location of care. The HITH team is proud to deliver care to a patient population with an enormous age range. For example, HITH staff have recently had the privilege of admitting a 100-year-old gentleman and a one week old baby on the same day. In the case of the baby, it meant he could go home safely and sooner from the special care nursery with his parents provided with intensive support. For our centurion, his admission to HITH meant a complete avoidance of ward-based care. He was happy to return home to his residential aged care facility where he was successfully treated for pneumonia and has since celebrated his 101st birthday.