The second stage of the Improving Care for Older People (ICOP) program operated in Victoria from 2010 to 2013. Across Victoria, 35 public health services participated in the initiative, including all metropolitan health services. As part of the program, they were required to undertake initiatives to minimise the risk of functional decline in older patients and improve the provision of care in four areas:

  • Evidence-based environmental improvements
  • Organisation-wide policy development that provides a framework for improving care for older people across the organisation
  • Embedding the evidence base contained within The Toolkit to inform models of care to minimise functional decline for older people, with a focus on acute settings
  • Professional development activities to support workforce capacity building to better respond to the needs of older people in hospital settings

Outlined is a snapshot of the types of initiatives taken by health services relating to functional decline.

Health Service

Requirement Addressed and Project Summary

Albury Wodonga Health

Policy Development - Minimising functional decline policy still in development

Models of Care - Functional Maintenance Program implemented in acute wards at Wodonga – to be rolled out to Albury Campus; bed based exercise program via patient television operating in Albury – will roll out to Wodonga

Alfred Health

Policy Development - An overarching minimising functional decline policy known as Better Care for Older People was developed. Additionally, minimising functional decline guidelines were ratified in April 2013

Models of Care - Key elements of functional decline have been incorporated into the Point of Care Audit; this information will be used to inform future improvement efforts. Brochures promoting best practice against prevention of functional decline have been developed with consumer feedback incorporated into the final version

Professional Development - Production of AV material to support implementation and education regarding the domains of the Toolkit and preventing functional decline

Austin Health

Policy Development - Functional Maintenance guideline and policy 2013 (awaiting final approval)

Bairnsdale Regional Health Service

Policy Development - Functional maintenance policy completed

Barwon Health

Professional Development - Online training tool on functional decline and ICOP principles in use throughout organisation – delivered through clinical software; developed a DVD for older patients called Maximising your health in hospital

Bass Coast Regional Health

Policy Development - Ongoing work on organisation wide Preventing Functional Decline policy

Benalla Health

Policy Development - Minimising functional decline policy developed – waiting approval and implementation

Models of Care - Information booklet for patients and carers at bedside on how to minimise functional decline

Professional Development - Functional Independence Measure training completed by several staff; developed an e-learning quiz for clinical staff.

Bendigo Health

Policy Development - Prevention of Functional Decline in Older Hospitalised Patients policy developed and adopted

Castlemaine Health

Policy Development - Preventing Functional Decline Policy introduced

Colac Area Health

Policy Development - Functional Decline Policy for Older Persons endorsed across organisation

Echuca Regional Health

Policy Development - Preventing Functional Decline Policy drafted

Latrobe Regional Hospital

Policy Development - Functional maintenance/decline policy developed and under review

Models of Care - Functional Maintenance Program (FMP) in medical and surgical wards utilising toolkit domains and symbols. Evaluated and shown to be successful. Establishment of ongoing Allied Health Assistant (AHA) position for FMP

Maryborough District Health Service

Policy Development - ICOP principles embedded in Minimising Functional Decline Policy

Melbourne Health

Policy Development - Care Planning and Implementation Policy amended to incorporate statement to support minimising functional decline; developed multiple online learning packages including best care for older people, falls prevention, pressure injuries, medication management and safe swallowing. 

Northeast Health Wangaratta

Policy Development - Overarching Functional Decline Policy – in progress. To include hyperlinks to the toolkit domains

Northern Health

Policy Development - Input into development of functional decline policy by state-wide Best Care for Older People (BCOP) group

Peninsula Health

Policy Development - Organisation wide policy on ‘minimising functional decline’ ratified

Models of Care - Enhanced existing functional maintenance programs and introduced falls identifier

Portland District Health

Policy Development - Preventing Functional Decline in Hospitalised Older Patients Policy developed and implemented – includes dementia, delirium and depression

Models of Care - Clinical champion for preventing functional decline with focus on person centred care and assessment – role in educating staff on these domains

Professional Development - Education sessions run by clinical champion for preventing functional decline – falls risk assessment, functional assessment, nursing care plan, nursing admission/discharge, pressure sore risk assessment and patient handling assessment

Seymour Health

Policy Development - Person Centred Care Policy and Minimising Functional Decline in Hospital Policy – developed, not yet approved or implemented

Professional Development - Graduate program orientation includes functional decline and person centred care session

South West Healthcare

Policy Development - Development and implementation of IC4OP Preventing Functional Decline in Hospitalised Older People policy

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

Policy Development - ‘Prevention of Functional Decline Policy’ implemented organisation wide at CEO forum in February 2013. Introduction of internal tracking system so that all internal policy considers the needs of Improving Care for Older People (ICOP) and prevention of functional decline

Stawell Regional Health

Policy Development - Preventing Functional Decline policy developed and implemented

Swan Hill District Health

Policy Development - Minimising Functional Decline Policy implemented

Werribee Mercy

Policy Development - ‘Preventing Functional Decline in Hospitalised Older People’ endorsed

West Gippsland Healthcare Group

Models of Care - Functional maintenance program utilising AHAs ongoing

Western District Health Service

Policy Development - Preventing Functional Decline policy implemented and staff educated

Western Health

Policy Development - Organisation wide ‘Preventing Functional Decline in Older Hospitalised Patients’ policy to be implemented by September 2013.

Professional Development - Held the ‘Great Debate’ in May 2013 to highlight that minimising functional decline and practicing Person Centred Care is everybody’s role.

Wimmera Health Care Group

Policy Development - Preventing Functional Decline Policy in operation