Patient and family perspectives on transition to sub-acute care

Ms Kirstie Faulkner1, Carly Maurer1, Struan Ferguson1, Leigh Burton2, Sarah Bohan3, Jennifer Finch4, Ilsa Nielsen4, Belinda Gavaghan4

1Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Rockhampton, Australia, 2Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Townsville, Australia, 3North West Hospital and Health Service, Mt Isa, Australia, 4Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

A multi-agency, clinician-led collaborative was formed in 2017 to explore ways to improve sub-acute care for rural and remote patients in central and north-west Queensland. The Transition 2 Sub-acute (T2SA) Project was established to identify and deliver strategies for seamless and effective allied health sub-acute services and to expediate transfers to care closer to home.

The impact of redesigned sub-acute models on the provision of client-centred care was explored via patient and family stories. Thirty-eight semi-structured interviews were conducted over the course of the project to examine the views and experiences of rural and remote patients and their families receiving sub-acute care.

Patients and families reported that sub-acute care, and the teams that provided care, were valued, and there was general satisfaction with involvement in decision-making and goal-setting. Overall perceptions were not strongly influenced by rural or urban service location. Negative financial and psychological impacts were reported by patients and families in relation to receiving care far from home in urban hospitals. However, regional variations were identified in preference for where care is delivered, potentially influenced by differences in access to extended family and support between urban service locations or distance and ease of travel in direct regions.

Redesigned sub-acute models successfully delivered client-centred care by partnering with rural patients and their families. Financial and support burdens were identified by some patients and families receiving care away from home, but preferences for sub-acute care location were influenced by local service and personal factors.


Kirstie Faulkner is an Advanced Allied Health Practitioner in Rehabilitation and Geriatrics for Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.  She has clinical experience in hospital-based and community physiotherapy roles in Australia and the United Kingdom. Recently she has worked in the role of Principal Project Officer for the Transition to Sub-acute project aimed at optimising the patient journey for sub-acute patients from rural and remote areas.

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