National Palliative Care Week 2016

Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Living well with chronic illness is the theme for National Palliative Care Week 2016 and the Portland District Health palliative care and HARP teams are working hard to ensure local people achieve those goals.

National Palliative Care Week's theme addresses the need for people with advanced chronic illness to be able to access palliative care. It highlights that not only cancer patients can uses palliative care.

People with chronic illnesses often have more than one chronic illness which affects their health in different ways. Early access to palliative care can help them have a better quality of life.

In Portland this already happens with the PDH palliative care and HARP (Hospital Admissions Risk Program) teams working closely together to ensure clients have access to all the services they need during the tough times in their lives.

The teams ensure people with chronic illness can live well and stay at home for as long as possible.

Palliative care and HARP have a close relationship and regularly refer clients to each other.

Palliative Care Nursing Unit Manager Jo Spurge said clients are assisted according to their needs.

It depends on where the client comes into the service, Ms Spurge said. If the HARP team has a client with a chronic illness they think will benefit from palliative care they will refer to us, and we will do our detailed assessment from a palliative perspective, she said.

We can be involved during the chronic illness stage and stay for the duration or do advanced care plans, or we can talk about assistance management or end-of-life management and then discharge the client who can re-activate the service when they want to.

Ms Spurge said it was important to have early conversations about care.

We talk about what clients want and what sort of support is in place if they want to remain at home, she said.

The sooner you think about the issues and make a plan, the better it is. You can continue to live your life the best you can at home and not worry about the future.

HARP clinicians conduct home-based visits and aim to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and emergency department presentations by care coordination for clients in the community, providing education and support to the client and their carer, promoting self-management through care planning, improving access to local services, and working collaboratively with local GPs to enhance patient care and support.

During Palliative Care Week, PDH is hosting an afternoon tea for families of people who have died during the past year.

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