28 October 2019

One year on from the official launch of caring@home, the real difference the project is making to home-based palliative care patients, their carers and their wider health teams is becoming apparent.

The Australian Government-funded project has produced a range of free resources to support health professionals to train carers to help manage breakthrough symptoms safely using subcutaneous medicines for terminally-ill people who want to be cared for, and to die at home, if possible.

Prof. Liz Reymond, Palliative Medicine Specialist and caring@home Project Director said that since the project was launched one year ago, 740 caring@home packages for carers have been distributed to specialist palliative care services, community-based health organisations, rural and remote health services and GP practices around Victoria and 3,300 nationwide.

“Latest statistics show that 70 per cent of people want to die at home, but most do not achieve this. If symptoms are well-controlled, the person is likely to be able to stay at home for longer and avoid unwanted hospital admissions,” Prof Reymond said.

“The Victorian Government, via a grant from the End-of-life Ancillary Service grant program to palliative care charity Shannon’s Bridge has funded the production of extra caring@home packages for carers in the State.”

Mr Jeremy McKnight, founder of Shannon’s Bridge says that the caring@home resources are essential for patients, family members and carers if a person chooses to die at home.

“The package is effective and easy-to-use, gives peace of mind and provides a practical solution for families to control breakthrough symptoms at home, especially at a time which is extremely emotional for those involved,” says Mr McKnight.

“Existing services are stretched very thinly especially through regional and rural areas. These packages can greatly assist community service providers, GPs and nurses by allowing them to provide practical help to families so they can control breakthrough symptoms for a person dying at home.”

Carers who have been trained to give subcutaneous medicines using the caring@home resources have graciously given feedback on their experience.

“We would recommend it to anybody who wants to care for their loved one at home. Absolutely recommend the whole process – the package, the care, the support, the encouragement we were given.”

“There’s no reason why any carer shouldn’t be able to give subcutaneous medicines…any carer should feel that they can handle the situation if they have enough training and practice.”

In addition to the caring@home package for carers, other resources for services and healthcare professionals include:

  • palliMEDS, an app for prescribers of palliative medicines, developed by NPS MedicineWise
  • Guidelines for the handling of palliative care medicines in community services, developed by NPS MedicineWise
  • Example policy and procedures for use by services
  • Online education modules for nurses
  • Translated carer resources in six commonly-spoken languages.

The project is undertaken by a consortium including: Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative (lead agency), Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), CareSearch, NPS MedicineWise, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), Leading Age Service Australia (LASA) and University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

More information:  caring@home resources are free and can be ordered or downloaded from caringathomeproject.com.au

Contact the project team: caringathome@health.qld.gov.au or 1300 600 007

By caring@home.

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