Patients of the Palliative Care Service in Bathurst and Orange can now receive additional support at home towards the end of their life. The packages, designed to support people who wish to die at home, are part of a $35 million state-wide palliative care plan announced by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner in September 2013.
According to Western NSW Local Health District Area Manager Area of Cancer and Palliative Care Services, Ruth Jones, surveys consistently show that while up to three-quarters of Australians would prefer to die at home, only 16 per cent of people with life-limiting illnesses do so. The packages will complement and link with existing specialist palliative care services and aim to reduce hospital admissions for people who wish to die at home.
The HammondCare consortium, who successfully tendered to provide the packages, comprises HammondCare, Sacred Heart Health and Calvary Health Care Sydney. They will provide the packages to seven Local Health Districts (LHDs) in NSW including Western NSW LHD.
”In this introductory phase, people living in Bathurst, Orange and Oberon are now eligible to receive this additional assistance,” said Ms Jones.
It is planned that other communities in the Western NSW LHD will become eligible for packages during 2014 as care workers from their local area are trained in palliative and supportive care.
“The new community palliative care packages will supplement the care provided by specialist palliative care nurses, doctors and allied health professionals,” Ms Jones said.
“Specially trained community care workers will support existing specialist medical and nursing services and work as part of the Specialist Palliative Care multidisciplinary team by providing personal care, respite care and domestic support”.
These community workers have received education in palliative and supportive care through the Learning and Research Centre at Greenwich Hospital under Professor Rod Macleod and specialist clinical nurse consultants.
“Rather than replacing nurses or reducing the level of care, the Palliative Home Support Workers will work under the guidance of the Specialist Palliative Care Team and provide an extension of the support patients and families need at the most difficult time.
“For example, the availability of our Palliative Care Home Support Workers to stay through the night or to offer much needed respite for tired families, may be the difference between a peaceful death at home and an unwanted admission to an acute hospital”.
The HammondCare Consortium believes that by working closely with existing Specialist Palliative Care services in each LHD, the new packages will enhance the growing role of nurses and be a seamless addition to the resources available to community palliative care patients and families.
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