Being cared for and dying at home surrounded by their family and friends is most people’s preference. It seems like a simple and achievable wish, however, this has not always been possible.
To improve end of life care, it is important to understand what support, care and choices people want and what they value.
The Lately project is one of a number of activities developed by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network as part of the Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care (GCfAHPC) program. Established by the Australian Government and implemented by 11 PHNs, the GCfAHPC program aims to improve the coordination of services to provide palliative care in the community.
The goals for the program include:
- Improve access to the best palliative care at home
- Support palliative care services in primary health and community care
- Make sure patients get the right care, at the right time and in the right place to reduce unnecessary hospital visits
- Generate and use data to improve services
- Use technology to provide flexible and responsive care, including after-hours care.
In 2019 NWMPHN ran a community forum to ask what “dying well” looks like. From this, a report, Dying Well, included key recommendations that have steered the activities of the GCfAHPC program in our region. One of those recommendations called for education, communication, conversations about ‘dying,’ and end of life choices. These can normalise death, enabling a person to plan to die well, which reduces anxiety, stress, and fear of the unknown when facing life crises.