Dr. Tony Tampiyappa is the Director of Geriatric Services.
Dr. Tony Tampiyappa is the Director of Geriatric Services. Warren Lynam

'Hub' for older people tipped for Coast's first hospital

AUSTRALIAN population projections suggest there will be more than four million people aged between 65 and 84 years by 2022.

The ageing demographic comes with an array of challenges and demands on the health system.

The opening of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital is sure to assist in this growing demand.

It will also see the Nambour Hospital thrive as the 'hub' of Geriatric Services on the Sunshine Coast.

Director of Geriatric Services Dr Tony Tampiyappa said the move to SCUH will allow the Geriatric Service build upon its already high standard.

"The thing that the move allows us to do, will be to provide an improved service for our patients," he said.

Dr Tampiyappa said the move will see Geriatric Services take occupancy on the former children's ward at Nambour Hospital.

"We will have direct clinician involvement in the refurbishment," he said.

"The kids ward makes a lot of sense as there is a lot more space.

"People will be able to have meals together.

"These things are incredibly important to a patient."

The Service will build upon its community-based approach which he said is vital for many patients.

"The trouble with hospitals is you're sat in a bed in a room with four walls," he said.

"We're trying to make a home environment front and centre.

"It's a about a whole health approach."

Dr Tampiyappa said the opening of SCUH is a great opportunity for the service to continue looking into the future.

"SCUH has less intrusive areas for elderly people," he said.

"Elderly patients want to be treated as individuals so this allows us to individualise plans.

"We're essentially going to for the first time be able to fully integrate services."

SCUH will house a 12-bed unit for older patients with a higher degree of medical problems.

Dr Tampiyappa said the Geriatric Services currently offered on the Coast are highly advanced.

He said the Service admits patients with a hip fracture for example, under a geratrician rather than under a surgeon.

"The idea is to identify those at risk patients who would benefit from geriatric intervention this it to stop them from going to hospital," he said.

"We're trying to move the paradigm away from the hospital and into the community.

"Our strengths are our holistic approaches."

Geriatric outpatient services will continue to be offered at Caloundra and Gympie Hospital's as well as Nambour and SCUH.

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