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Primary Health Care Review

Integrated and coordinated care is essential to good quality palliative care and all Australians should have access to seamless and universal palliative care, according to Palliative Care Australia (PCA’s) submission to the Primary Health Care Advisory Group

PCA made various recommendations to the review, including supporting improved uptake of case conferencing, funding to support multidisciplinary care and nationally agreed referral criteria.

Others include:

  • Supporting expansion of home-based health services
  • Supporting remote health care delivery including telehealth
  • Investing in IT tools to support self-management
  • Improving measurement of patient outcomes
  • Funding the development and maintenance of advance care plans
  • Conducting trials to test options for the management of chronic progressive diseases.

PCA CEO Liz Callaghan said palliative care is a benchmark for person-centred multi-disciplinary care.

“Palliative care takes into account not only the typical medical aspects of care, but also psychosocial and spiritual aspects of care, and care of the person and their family/carers including bereavement support. When palliative care is delivered well, it provides a model of effective coordination of services across the health system, including in primary care.

“However, while specialist palliative care has developed with these principles in mind, there is significant fragmentation in the delivery of end-of-life care, and this is an important issue for people with chronic and complex health conditions,” she said.

The Chair of the Advisory Group, Dr Steve Hambleton, met with PCA and stakeholders, providing an opportunity to discuss the key issues for the provision of palliative care. PCA looks forward to continuing to work with the Australian Government and the Primary Health Care Advisory Group to improve management of people with chronic progressive diseases, including through provision of high quality, appropriate, palliative care services (including end of life care and advance care planning).

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