Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Member for Oatley, Mark Coure MP is heartened the NSW Government has heard the pleas of our most vulnerable, palliative care patients, with the Minister for Health Jillian Skinner today announcing the roll-out of $35 million in community-based palliative care services across NSW.



“Today, we take a giant step towards achieving the goals of the NSW Government Plan to Increase Access to Palliative Care 2012-2016,” Mrs Skinner said.

“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.

Mr Coure said, “This is one of the most delicate points in one’s life and if palliative care patient’s last wish is to leave this life in the comfort of their home, government should assist in giving them this option”.


Mrs Skinner said, “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.”


The $35 million suite of community-based palliative care initiatives includes:


  1. Support packages for people dying at homeUp to 1545 packages of home support in 2013/14, building to 2863 packages in 2015/16. Rapid access to home support services is designed to ensure safe and comfortable end of life care at home. These services include personal care, domestic assistance and service co-ordination, giving carers the confidence and time to support loved ones, while also reducing the likelihood of hospitalisation.Leading palliative care organisations, including HammondCare and Silver Chain, successfully tendered to work with Local Health Districts to provide these community-based packages, which will be able to be mobilised quickly and offered on a tailored basis.
  2. Support services for dying children and their familiesA “pop up” model of care will mobilise clinical expertise and support around a dying child as close to home as possible. This approach provides support to clinicians caring for children at home, including GPs, nurses and care workers; targeted training to support professionals; and ongoing access to paediatric palliative care expertise for families and clinicians by telephone, e-health or other communication strategies.
  3. Palliative care volunteer support servicesPalliative care volunteers provide very important personal care for patients, families and carers.  This may take the form of companionship, practical assistance or respite for carers. A tender will be released in the next month for state-wide palliative care volunteer support services to bolster and ensure continuous access to volunteer services but not replace existing Local Health District arrangements. 
  4. After-hours telephone support serviceThis service will be introduced into NSW later this year to complement existing specialist palliative care services provided during the day to ensure after-hours access to support and assistance, which is vital to being able to stay at home as end of life approaches. The service will be staffed by specialist palliative care nurses, with access to a doctor as required.



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



Mrs Skinner said the $35 million suite of community-based services is on top of the $86 million provided annually in NSW for specialist palliative care, with millions more spent each year on providing palliation for patients in general hospital wards.



In addition, the 2013/14 NSW Budget included a further $100 million for sub-acute rehabilitation and palliative care services. This followed the then Federal Labor Government’s withdrawal of National Partnership Agreement funding.



“The NSW Government was committed to working towards a state where those living with a terminal condition are receiving palliative care and support, when they need it, in their place of choice,” 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.”



In conclusion, Mr Coure said, “I take this opportunity to thank all doctors, nurses, counsellors and support people involved with Palliative Care services. I recognise the tireless works you do and hope today’s announcement assist those you care for and the compassionate work you are called to do”. 


To view the NSW Government Plan to Increase Access to Palliative Care 2012-2016, go to www.health.nsw.gov.au/palliativecare.


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