Hospital in the Home (HITH) celebrated a major milestone last week - its 20th anniversary.

Staff, managers and executives attended an afternoon tea to commemorate this important occasion. Many past staff members came back to celebrate and catch up with old colleagues sharing humorous stories, from tales of car breakdowns, to close encounters with patients’ pets to troublesome weather extremes.

In 2000, Michael Montalto brought his knowledge and experience of HITH care to Epworth HealthCare, with former Epworth CEO, Denis Hogg supporting Michael in this venture.

HITH is designed to substitute acute home care for patients who would otherwise need treatment in a traditional hospital bed. It is a clinical unit of the hospital, with its own medical, nursing and administrative staff and full access to the technology and support services of the hospital. HITH nurses administer a wide variety of intravenous therapies, including antibiotics, antivirals, colloid fluids, steroids, blood products and chemotherapy. They also look after complex wounds with negative pressure dressings.

“The unit started with three part-time nurses and myself visiting patients at home, where we often put in long hours and were on call overnight,” said Michael Montalto, Hospital in the Home, Senior Consultant.

“Today I am proud to say that the HITH service has grown to a team of four doctors, 12 nurses and a unit receptionist. We continue to provide a 24 hour on-call service, and the car fleet has grown to an impressive seven.

“Our nurses and doctors visit 10,000 patients annually, with approximately 500 admissions a year. The Hospital in the Home service at Epworth HealthCare continues to be well recognised with an excellent reputation,” Michael added.

Well regarded in HITH circles, Michael is a member of the Executive Committee of the HITH society of Australasia and was instrumental in setting up the first international HITH conference in Madrid in 2019.

Unit receptionist Janice Blair has been at the forefront of HITH from the start. Nurse Unit Manager, Wendy Pattenden and registered nurses Eva Hamilton, Liz Bradie and Kate Hine all have a wealth of experience and have been HITH nurses for over 10 years.

At the celebration, Wendy thanked Michael for his dedication to the unit along with the many nurses, doctors and clerical staff who have assisted the HITH unit over the last 20 years.

“You have shown us the way, Michael. Your dedication to this discipline has been remarkable,” Wendy said.

“I am sure there are many people here who would like to thank you and many patients who are now leading happy, healthy lives because of you. So thank you and our amazing team for the ongoing support and dedication.”

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