$35 million for NSW community-based palliative care

The New South Wales health minister has announced a suite of community-based palliative care initiatives including tailored packages, additional volunteer services and after-hours telephone support to be rolled out across the state.

Tailored packages for people dying at home, more palliative care volunteers and an after-hours telephone service are among $35 million in community-based palliative care initiatives to be rolled out across New South Wales, the state’s health minister, Jillian Skinner, has announced. 

Up to 1545 home support packages offering personal care, domestic assistance and service co-ordination and designed to be mobilised quickly to ensure safe and comfortable end of life care at home will be available this financial year increasing up to 2863 packages in 2015/16.

Existing palliative care specialists including HammondCare and Silver Chain will work with local health districts to provide tailored community-based packages, which aim to reduce hospitalisation and give carers more confidence and time to support their loved one in the home. 

The services will go along way towards achieving the goals of the NSW Government Plan to Increase Access to Palliative Care 2012-2016, Mrs Skinner said on Thursday.

“While 70 per cent of Australians say they want to die at home, only 16 per cent do. Over half die in hospitals, 20 per cent in hospices and 10 per cent in nursing homes. 

“These new services will give real choice to palliative care patients and their loved ones, providing the necessary care and support if dying at home is their wish,” Mrs Skinner said.

Elsewhere in the $35 million worth of initiatives is funding to bolster volunteer services state-wide to provide companionship, practical assistance and respite to patients, families and carers but not replace existing local health area arrangements. 

An after-hours telephone support service manned by specialist palliative care nurses with access to a doctor will also be introduced later this year to complement existing specialist palliative care services provided during the day.

The funding also provides for a “pop up” model of care to mobilise clinical expertise and support around a dying child as close to home as possible. 

In addition to the $35 million enhancement funding, 30 Clinical Nurse Specialists and Clinical Nurse Educators in end of life or palliative care will commence work across NSW in 2013/14 at a cost of $3 million per annum, Mrs Skinner said.

“We know that to deliver better palliative care services to people throughout NSW, we must build up community-based options. 

“The suite of funded services I announce today will do just that, from the after-hours telephone service, to volunteer support services, to the home care packages, which are the first packages of their kind in NSW dedicated to palliative care patients and their loved ones and offered on a state-wide basis,” she said. 

Find out more about the NSW government’s five-year plan: The NSW Government plan to increase access to palliative care 2012-2016 (pdf)

Tags: end-of-life-care, jillian-skinner, nsw-health, palliative care,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *