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Palliative care resources providing more choice for terminally-ill patients to stay at home
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Palliative care resources providing more choice for terminally-ill patients to stay at home

caring@home celebrates one year since the release of standardised palliative care resources to help terminally-ill people be cared for, and die at home, if possible.

 

One year on from the official release of the caring@home resources, the real difference the project is making to home-based palliative care patients, their carers and their health care teams is becoming apparent.

The Australian Government-funded project has produced a range of free resources to support health professionals to train carers to help manage breakthrough symptoms safely using subcutaneous medicines for terminally-ill people who want to be cared for, and to die at home, if possible.

Prof. Liz Reymond, Palliative Medicine Specialist and caring@home Project Director said that since the project was launched one year ago, 3,300 caring@home packages have been distributed to specialist palliative care services, home care package providers, domiciliary nursing services, rural and remote health services and GP practices nationwide. 

“Latest statistics show that 70 per cent of people want to die at home, but most do not achieve this. If symptoms are well-controlled, the person is likely to be able to stay at home for longer and avoid unwanted hospital admissions. The caring@home resources may assist with this,” Prof Reymond said.

Healthcare professionals have reported how valuable the caring@home resources are in assisting patients and families at the end of life. 

Jacqui Culver, a Nurse Practitioner from NSW said that the package provides health care professionals with tools and resources to meet the final hurdle of timely symptom management at home, at a time when families often feel powerless and dependant on medical support. 

Carers who have been trained to give subcutaneous medicines using the caring@home resources have graciously given feedback on their experience.

“We would recommend it to anybody who wants to care for their loved one at home. Absolutely recommend the whole process - the package, the care, the support, the encouragement we were given.”

“There’s no reason why any carer shouldn’t be able to give subcutaneous medicines…any carer should feel that they can handle the situation if they have enough training and practice.”

In addition to the caring@home package for carers, other resources for services and health professionals include:

  • palliMEDS, an app for prescribers of palliative medicines, developed by NPS MedicineWise, which has been downloaded 3,750 times since launching
  • Guidelines for the handling of palliative care medicines in community services, developed by NPS MedicineWise
  • Example policy and procedures for use by services
  • Online education modules for nurses
  • Translated carer resources in six commonly-spoken languages.

The project is undertaken by a consortium including: Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), CareSearch, NPS MedicineWise, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), Leading Age Service Australia (LASA), and University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The project is led by the Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative. 

More information: caring@home resources are free and can be ordered or downloaded from www.caringathomeproject.com.au

Contact the project team: caringathome@health.qld.gov.au or 1300 600 007.

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