Euroa Hos­pi­tal’s history - part 3

Euroa Gazette - - NEWS - By JOHN SUL­LI­VAN

BY 1990 the much awaited ex­ten­sion to Ama­roo was ap­proved for 30 beds.

It was not known at the time if this ex­ten­sion would quite fit with the old part of the build­ing.

It would de­pend on the funds avail­able if a re­fur­bish­ment of the old part of the build­ing was pos­si­ble.

Once again an ap­peal was launched for $500,000.

Never has the hos­pi­tal asked the com­mu­nity for such an amount, and given at the same time the shire was re­cov­er­ing from a dev­as­tat­ing bush fire that burnt through a large swath of land it was with mixed feel­ings that the ap­peal went ahead.

How­ever, once again the peo­ple of Euroa, to­gether with some en­trepreneurial funds from Mel­bourne and re­tained sur­pluses, il­lus­trated their de­sire to see the nurs­ing home built. The ap­peal was suc­cess­ful. By 1991 the hos­pi­tal was able to pur­chase six acute beds from the Ton­gala hos­pi­tal.

This was an ex­am­ple of a small com­mu­nity un­for­tu­nately los­ing acute beds to gain nurs­ing home beds.

The Euroa oc­cu­pancy was near­ing 100 per cent acute at this time.

In 1991, I was ac­tu­ally the pres­i­dent and Nan and I at­tended a Phar­macy in­ter­na­tional health care con­fer­ence, as part of our own con­tin­u­ing pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment.

At this con­fer­ence I be­came aware of the health care di­rec­tion that Amer­ica was tak­ing, hav­ing been ad­dressed at the con­fer­ence by an Amer­i­can speaker.

The speaker out­lined some of the di­rec­tions that Amer­ica was tak­ing re­gard­ing health care in the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties

Pre­dic­tions in­cluded look­ing to­wards a hos­pi­tal in the home sit­u­a­tion, a greater need for nurs­ing home beds and shorter stays in acute hos­pi­tals.

This shorter stay would be brought about by changes to pri­vate health in­sur­ance and also more mod­ern and changed sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures and med­i­ca­tion.

The speaker claimed hos­pi­tal oc­cu­pan­cies would fall to about 35 per cent.

Health care providers would be look­ing to­wards day pro­ce­dure, com­mu­nity health ser­vices and in­clude an­cil­lary ser­vices such as OT, phys­io­ther­apy, po­di­a­try, and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

This all seems to have been an ac­cu­rate pre­dic­tion, but put a strain on acute ser­vices in Euroa.

Also the de­cline in pri­vate health in­sur­ance mem­ber­ship is well recog­nised as the start of tougher times for small coun­try hos­pi­tals.

To fur­ther ex­pand on this think­ing the hos­pi­tal re­quested a meet­ing with the Euroa Shire to form a com­bined steer­ing com­mit­tee in or­der to pro­duce a com­mu­nity health plan within the Shire of Euroa.

This was an ini­tia­tive of the Euroa Hos­pi­tal and was well re­ceived.

A re­port was pre­pared of the com­mu­nity’s health needs and some ac­tion en­sued.

A home care pro­gramme was de­vel­oped from the hos­pi­tal, fam­ily day care was later es­tab­lished and has proved a suc­cess, and a HACC me­mory loss pro­gramme was started in Gil­burn.

Un­for­tu­nately with the wind­ing up of the Euroa Shire, and the es­tab­lish­ment of the Strath­bo­gie Shire, the pri­or­i­ties of the new com­mis­sion­ers and the shire were not ini­tially di­rected to­wards health care and the whole pro­gram lost a great deal of mo­men­tum.

How­ever, it does ap­pear that in re­cent times a new ap­proach to com­mu­nity health needs is now un­der way and will once again look at some of the other is­sues raised in 1992 and 1993.

Dona­tions ap­pre­ci­ated, but do bring them in­side. Yes, The Al­ready Read Book­shop ap­pre­ci­ates your dona­tions - hours are 10am-4pm Mon­day to Fri­day, and 10am-12.30pm week­ends. How­ever, the shop ad­vises that large quan­ti­ties left in the door­way are not ap­pre­ci­ated. Other than it be­ing an oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety is­sue, the vol­un­teers are mostly se­nior ladies who can­not move large quan­ti­ties of books. The Al­ready Read Book­shop team asks for peo­ple to de­liver books dur­ing open hours.

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