Report calls for more home-based palliative care

A new report commissioned by Catholic Health Australia (CHA) calls for the provision of more home-based palliative care services to relieve pressure on hospitals and save valuable health system dollars.

CHA, the peak body for Catholic health and aged care service providers in Australia, launched the report today at Calvary North Adelaide Hospital.

The report draws on the experiences of more than 9,400 palliative care patients admitted to CHA member hospitals each year.

According to CHA Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Greenwood, the projected growth of Australia’s ageing population will mean significantly more Australians will need access to high-quality end-of-life and palliative care services in the coming years.

“Our ageing population is increasing up to 22% per year and by 2056 the number of deaths is expected to double.

“In Australia, as many as 70 per cent of people would prefer to die at home, compared to the current rate of 14 per cent. In the UK, 42 per cent of deaths occur at home or in at-home care.”

Dr Suharsha Kanathigoda, Calvary ACT Director of Palliative Care and Royal Australasian College of Physicians NSW/ACT Deputy Chair, believes Australia is ready to embrace and resource a much more integrated approach to palliative care.

“Australia is ranked second in the world for quality and access to palliative and end-of-life care services, however referral to palliative care is often later than it should be and treatment can be fragmented.

“The evidence shows that there are many opportunities for us to strengthen the continuum of care. There is a clear need to offer Australians improved options and access to palliative care earlier and in the place of their choosing.”

According to the manager of Calvary North Adelaide Hospital’s Palliative Home Care Service Kevin Hardy, “One of the goals of palliative care is to enable a person to exercise choice for their care, and the setting of their care, which for the majority of people is in their home.

“The significance of giving patients this choice can’t be understated, particularly at a time in their lives when many choices are taken away from them. All palliative care should aim to achieve a good life until a good death, and where possible at-home care is an important part of that.”

An ABC interview with Jim Derrington, whose mother is a patient of the service, detailed the significant difference palliative care in the home has made to her quality of life.

Calvary North Adelaide is the first private hospital in South Australia to introduce palliative care services in the home. Since commencing in September last year, more than 50 patients and their families have accessed the service.

Delivered with the support of private health fund insurers, the service incudes 24/7 access to palliative care telephone support and visits from nursing and allied health practitioners. Hospital admissions can be facilitated as required including close collaboration with the Mary Potter Foundation to enhance the delivery of quality palliative care.


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About Calvary

Founded in 1885 by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, Calvary is a charitable, not-for-profit, Catholic health care organisation. We’re responsible for over 12,000 staff and volunteers, 15 Public and Private Hospitals, 15 Retirement and Aged Care Facilities and 22 Community Care Centres.

As part of our mission is to provide quality, compassionate health care to the most vulnerable, including those reaching the end of their life, Calvary’s Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute brings together academic and clinical researchers from our four specialist palliative care services in the public hospital network for implementing of key research findings across the wider organisation.

About Catholic Health Australia (CHA)

CHA members form a national network of more than 80 hospitals, 25,000 aged care residential beds and numerous community care organizations. They provide 13 per cent of all palliative care related hospitalisations in Australia including the majority of palliative care inpatient provision and have more than 73 per cent of inpatient beds.

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Media contacts:

Catholic Health Australia
Suzanne Greenwood, Chief Executive Officer
P | (02) 6203 2777       E | [email protected]

Sue Corlette, Calvary National Communications and Marketing Manager
M | 0419 378 470         E | [email protected]