caring@home further supports community palliative care during the COVID-19 pandemic
The National Palliative Care Project, caring@home, has adapted its popular package for carers to now include an emergency COVID-19 pack to further assist service providers and carers.
COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge for patients, carers, and health professionals in Australia. During the pandemic, community-based palliative care services may experience increased demand and the way these services are delivered in private homes and other facilities will need to change to ensure the safety of patients, families, and health professionals.
During this pandemic, aspects of palliative care delivery will change, though the goals of palliative care will not.
It is vitally important that carers and family members have access to resources and information to support them to deliver an appropriate level of care for people who choose to be cared for, and to die at home, if possible.
caring@home, supported by the Australian Government, have responded to this challenge by producing augmented caring@home packages for carers. This package is a resource for service providers and carers to assist with the provision of patient-centered, home-based palliative care, and that helps limit the risks of community COVID-19 transmission.
caring@home Project Director, Prof. Liz Reymond says that palliative care clinicians are skilled in providing adaptive and integrated care and have much to contribute in the provision of support to the overall health response to COVID-19.
“We play an important role with expertise in planning clinical care for those with life-limiting illness across our community, and proactively considering future clinical issues or risks in these plans, which currently includes COVID-19,” Prof. Reymond says.
“An important part of this care includes supporting carers to help manage the breakthrough symptoms of people who choose to be cared for, and to die at home, if possible, with resources such as the augmented caring@home package for carers.”
In addition to the regular caring@home resources, which support a carer to help safely manage breakthrough symptoms using subcutaneous medicines in home-based palliative care patients, the augmented package for carers contains an emergency COVID-19 pack. The emergency pack is for use when hospital or community clinicians are unable to insert subcutaneous cannulas in palliative patients at home, for example, if adequate PPE is not available.
Using the resources contained in the emergency COVID-19 pack, health professionals can teach volunteer carers how to insert a cannula and/or how to give a subcutaneous injection of medicine using remote communication, for example via telehealth or telephone.
Volunteer carers can use the clinical items included in the emergency pack to practice with and to insert a subcutaneous cannula or give an injection of medicine if needed by the patient. The pack also contains short training videos, step-by-step guides, and information sheets to support the carer and family.
As with the regular caring@home resources, the emergency COVID-19 pack can only be used if an education session is delivered by a health professional along with a 24-hour phone support line for the carer to ensure safety and provide advice and reassurance.
The emergency COVID-19 packs have been produced specifically for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency pack contents can be easily removed, and the remaining ‘regular’ package used for patients not at risk, or diagnosed with, COVID-19.
Augmented caring@home packages for carers are now available to order from www.caringathomeproject.com.au. The packs are free and can be ordered in unlimited numbers. The production of these packs is funded by the Australian Government.
Prof. Liz Reymond, as Project Director of caring@home is a member of the Australian COVID-19 Palliative Care Working Group, formed by Palliative Care Australia.
caring@home, a National Palliative Care Project, is funded by the Australian Government and led by Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative.
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