National guidelines needed for palliative care referrals

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This article originally appeared in ehospice

Leading academic Professor David Currow has called for national guidelines on referral to specialist palliative care services at the 13th Australian Palliative Care conference in Melbourne.

His suggestion, which was met with applause from delegates, is consistent with Palliative Care Australia recommendations to the Federal Government as part of the Primary Health Care Review.

Professor Currow, Discipline, Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University told ehospice that the palliative care sector needed to take more responsibility for overcoming referral problems.

“Consistently, we criticise people for referring at the wrong time or referring the wrong patient population or referring for the wrong reasons.

“At the end of the day palliative care services have to take some ownership of helping our colleagues through that so there is absolute clarity about how, when and why to engage us.

“Palliative care services need to be more active about getting out there and identifying people with the most complex needs and start seeking them out.”

He gave the example of asking a respiratory team how many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder had been admitted to hospital more than three times in the past six months, or asking a cardiology team how many people on their books had New York Heart Association Grade Four..read more

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