Greater choice for at home palliative care

Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) has been selected as one of ten PHNs nationally to receive $750,000 in palliative care funding to improve access to safe palliative care and treatment at home.

MPHN Acting CEO Melissa Neal said the focus of the Murrumbidgee submission came out of discussions with a number of key stakeholders from across the region, who identified significant gaps in access to at home palliative care support, particularly in smaller rural areas.

“The key stakeholders engaged in this application included Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), general practitioners, private providers, and non-government organisations.

“Care and support in outside normal business hours as well as access to equipment and medications were all highlighted as areas of need, along with improving early access to psychosocial support, advance care planning and training for healthcare providers.

“We will continue to work closely with MLHD, GPs, specialist care support, community and social services across the region to provide support and care that is tailored to the needs of those coming to the end of their life and their carers,” Ms Neal said.

The program will support end-of-life care systems and services in primary health and community care settings including:

  • Promote Compassionate Communities framework, which helps community members support those who choose to die at home including mapping caring networks, for example who can help with meals, grief services and support for carers.
  • Promoting advance care planning so that caregivers are aware of the wishes of their loved ones.
  • Support people by ensuring access to medications and equipment at home.
  • Supporting primary care teams to undertake training and identify patients early that would benefit from a palliative approach.
  • Trialling telehealth solutions for at home palliative care outside usual business hours.

The trial runs until June 2020. 

Cristy Houghton