Aged care provider Bolton Clarke is partnering with a Melbourne health service to increase awareness of and access to palliative care.

The 12-month Enhanced Palliative Care at Home project is being run in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs by Bolton Clarke and the Eastern Melbourne PHN.

It aims to support people with life-limiting conditions to stay at home by proactively identifying needs and linking clients with community nurses, specialised palliative care teams and other health care providers.

The project involves:

  • developing support structures and boosting education
  • helping staff, carers and clients recognise and plan for end of life
  • bolstering relationships with and referrals to specialist palliative care services and practitioners
  • promoting advance care planning

Leanne Davey, a nurse practitioner who specialises in palliative care, is leading the project for Bolton Clarke.

Nurse practitioner Leanne Davey

She told Community Care Review the project aims to provide community based support for people facing end of life situations and their carers, help them stay at home and prevent unnecessary hospitalisation.

“For us it’s trying to enhance the palliative approach to care,” she said.

“What we’re hoping to do is encourage staff and prepare them to be able to recognise and respond to The aim is to recognise, respond to deterioration, but also to refer on.

“We’re trying to promote and enhance that palliative approach to care which will hopefully enable earlier identification that a client will benefit from palliative care.”

Ms Davey says many people don’t access palliative care when they could, and are potentially missing out on services like specialists medical supports and  bereavement counselling.

 “We are working to support staff, clients and carers to recognise and respond deterioration, start to have these conversations and enable connections with the services available,” she said.

“Certainly if people are wanting to stay at home there’s a lot of planning that we can assist with or facilitate to help these people stay at home if they choose.”

She says the organisation aims to embed this approach into its operations when the 12 months is over.

We’re trying to promote and enhance that palliative approach to care which will hopefully enable earlier identification that a client will benefit from palliative care.

Leanne Davey

Ms Davey says together with palliative care specialists, aged care providers can play an important role in enhancing palliative care decisions, and clients’ choices about how and where to die.

“I think we can play an important role, I think it’s been a bit of a gap,” she says.

“It’s really about forward planning and taking a wholistic approach to care.”

A KPMG report prepared for Palliative Care Australia has called for an overhaul of Australia’s palliative care system, saying investing more in home based care will improve quality of live for tens of thousands of people save the economy millions of dollars.

You can read CCR‘s report on the analysis here.

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