Sue-Ellen Smith
Head of Specialised Services Statewide, BlueCare


Sue-Ellen is a Registered Nurse and an experienced health leader, with >25 years’ experience in leading multidisciplinary teams in senior management roles in a variety of health settings across aged, rehabilitation, psychiatric, community care and the acute sector. Sue-Ellen has a passion for person-centred leadership, people, culture development and innovation. Sue-Ellen completed post graduate studies in Health Science, Leadership and Business. In 2006 Sue-Ellen was nominated and won “Manager of the Year” in the Bendigo Business Excellence Awards. Moving to Queensland in 2007, Sue-Ellen has worked for Blue Care for 16 years in a variety of Management and Leadership roles. Sue-Ellen is the Head of Specialised Services Statewide and oversees 6 specialty service streams across Queensland – Clinical Nursing, Dementia Care, Hospital In The Home, Allied Health, Telehealth, and Palliative Care programs. Sue-Ellen is an innovative and passionate Leader committed to excellence and quality care for all those we serve. 

BlueCare Hospital in the Home: How an Aged Care Provider Partnered with Private Hospitals to Deliver Care in the Home. 

Many people prefer to recover from hospital treatments in the comfort and privacy of their own home. This approach also assists in managing demand for hospital beds. With an existing in-home nursing workforce and expertise, partnerships between hospitals and aged care providers like BlueCare is a significant opportunity for cross-sector collaboration. Delivering these services well improves people’s transitions between healthcare settings, the home, and aged care settings. They also improve the relationship between hospitals and aged care providers. While Hospital in the Home services make good sense, setting these up and delivering them has a range of challenges.

This presentation will provide a case study of BlueCare’s experience partnering with three private hospitals to deliver hospital in the home services in South East Queensland. BlueCare has been operating Hospital in the Home programs with public hospital partnerships since 2014, and we began growing this into private hospitals in 2019.

This work has involved forming and cultivating relationships with hospital services, with each relationship holding a range of local nuances, especially in a geographically disperse state such as Queensland. Through this we have had to navigate the thorny issue of funding and pricing of service delivery – dealing directly with health funds, working with private hospitals and competing in government tenders. Getting the policy setting for the relationship and service model right is also critical to success. This must provide clarity of purpose, roles and responsibility. Managing workforce and service demand in recent years has also been a challenge, and we will share some of our strategies for this.

A critical aspect of driving program improvement and engagement with health services is customer experience. By delivering great customer experience and high-quality clinical care, we are able to build trust and grow the reputation of aged care services with the acute health sector. In turn, this creates future opportunities to improve the interface between aged care services and the health system.

What we have learnt will also guide the future of the program, how we can grow hospital in the home offerings in Queensland and what the role of technology is through this.