Better access to palliative care using phone or video call

Better access to palliative care using phone or video call

A blog post written by Maaike Allard

Everyone, regardless of age, where you live or personal circumstances, should have access to high quality end of life and palliative care. This care should be centred around your needs and preferences.

Surveys show 60% to 70% of people in Australia would prefer to remain at home at the end of their life, yet only 14% do. [1] In NSW, around 50% of people pass away in hospital. [2]

There are many challenges people face accessing end of life and palliative care health services, particularly in rural and remote areas of NSW. People often must leave their home and travel to healthcare appointments, which means more costs and time away from community and support networks.

Virtual care brings healthcare to you

Virtual care (also known as telehealth) is very similar to the in-person care you receive. It’s simply healthcare provided to you by your clinician or care team using technology, such as a telephone, smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

It complements the existing care you receive in-person and provides a safe way to connect your health and social care providers, particularly when it’s hard to attend face-to-face appointments.

Virtual care gives you more choice and improves your access to end of life and palliative care because:

  • you can undergo healthcare assessments, interventions, consultations, education and remote supervision from the comfort of your own home
  • the technology used allows family, carers and your wider care team to join in and be involved in your appointments (even if they can’t be with you in person)
  • the ability to connect key people involved in your care helps integrate the care you receive from your local doctor or GP and specialist healthcare providers.

This video from the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) was developed with input from patients and clinicians to explain the role and benefits of virtual care for people receiving palliative and end of life care.

Support for virtual end of life and palliative care

The ACI is supporting virtual end of life and palliative care as part of the NSW Government's $45 million commitment to improve end of life and palliative care in NSW. Our aim is to improve access to palliative care for people living in rural areas by integrating the different ways patients can access virtual care into healthcare services.

ACI initiatives to achieve this include:

  • building knowledge, skills and confidence among clinicians and patients
  • supporting palliative care clinicians to embed myVirtualCare, a custom-built videoconferencing platform, into their services
  • improving internet connectivity in rural and remote areas through a connectivity trial, running until November 2022
  • a range of educational resources that explains the role and benefits of virtual care to patients, families and carers.

If you live in NSW and would like more information about using virtual care and accessing it for your palliative care appointments, please visit the NSW Health website or contact us: ACI-VirtualCare@health.nsw.gov.au.


References

[1] Swerissen H, Duckett S. Dying well [Internet]. Carlton, Victoria: Grattan Institute; 2014 [cited 5 July 2022]. Available from: https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/815-dying-well.pdf

[2] NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation. Fact of Death Analysis 2011/12: Use of NSW public hospital services in the last year of life by NSW residents [Internet]. Sydney: NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation; 2015 [cited 5 July 2022]. Available from: https://aci.health.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/715924/ACI-Fact-of-death-report-palliative-care.pdf

 

Maaike Allard

Maaike Allard
Project Lead of Virtual Care in Palliative Care
NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation



 

Print
1029 views

Leave a comment

This form collects your name, email, IP address and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
Add comment

The views and opinions expressed in Palliative Perspectives are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.