Virtual Care Grants for Aged Care Homes


WNSW PHN delivered a second and final round of the $10K Telehealth Support Grant for Residential Aged Care Homes (RACH's) in late 2023 to facilities who hadn’t participated in first round grants . A total of 76%  (39 out of 51) RACHs applied for and received the Telehealth Support Grant with approximately a quarter of all RACHs in Western and Far West NSW not applying for the telehealth support grant for different reasons.

As of March 2024, approximately 85% of RACHs receiving the WNSW PHN Telehealth Support Grant had procured fit for purpose telehealth solutions with multiple facilities within this cohort still awaiting delivery of equipment and or implementation & staff training. Remaining 15% of RACHs are currently pending procurement and delivery updates from their management hierarchy. The national rollout of this grant through 31 primary health networks, which has necessitated larger aged care organisations to project manage the rollout to their facilities, combined with high RACH workforce turnover and facility outbreaks, has contributed to the delays for several RACHs.

The purpose of this grant is to support RACH’s to acquire fit-for-purpose telehealth solutions to enhance virtual consultation capabilities. Enabling residents in aged care with equitable access to support and care with healthcare professionals through telehealth services, is one of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality.

As of March 2024, approximately 50% of RACHs have acquired a telehealth cart, or medical carts with laptops, and including digitally enabled medical diagnostic devices to enhance virtual consultation capabilities for their residents. Residents within RACHs have since been able to access a wider range of health appointments with specialists, allied health and continuity of medical care during GP shortages. The acquisition of advanced telehealth diagnostic tools has also enabled medical professionals to have real time access to patient diagnostics to assist with clinical decision making. Several RACHs have since reported and observed resident satisfaction with efficiency and easier access to health professionals,  enabling residents to have consultations within the comfort of their rooms and no longer being dependant on the availability of family /friends to drive them to health appointments or needing to wait for community transport. Through the use of this grant, several RACHs have been able to deliver the upgrades necessary for information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure to improve wi-fi access and connectivity that can support virtual consultations and telehealth solutions for their residents.

The WNSW PHN Digital Health team continues to provide ongoing engagement with RACH stakeholders to assist and support use and adoption of telehealth/digital health technologies and solutions.