Rural palliative care patients disadvantaged by poor access to primary health

UntitledA recent survey by New South Wales aged care provider the not-for-profit Whiddon Group has found access to primary health providers, including specialist palliative care, is a significant barrier for its rural and remote clients.

The Whiddon Group is one of the recipients of a Decision Assist Linkages grant, aimed at building better links between the providers of palliative and aged care across Australia.

The grant enabled the project team to undertake a survey of each Whiddon site in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote communities.  This was to better understand existing linkages with specialist palliative care service providers, access to primary health providers, and the individual strengths of each facility providing care for clients with palliative needs.

The survey found that while most of Whiddon’s NSW sites had access to specialist palliative care teams as part of their Local Health District, one rural community was able to access specialist palliative care only through a private provider in a neighbouring town. The remotest sites, Bourke and Walgett, were over 400 kilometres from the nearest specialist palliative care provider and had access to a Registered Nurse only one day a week and a fly in, fly out, locum GP at the local medical practice

The survey identified access to primary health providers, particularly after hours, as a barrier to many sites in providing care for clients with palliative needs. Survey respondents said that in their experience the main reasons a client would be transferred to hospital for end of life care were as a result of a family request, pain management and unclear Advance Care Directives.…. read more

From ehospice

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