Palliative care now has new Ambulance options

PALLIATIVE PARTNERSHIP: Narooma General Practitioner Dr John Brown and Narooma Ambulance station officer, Amber Barber are pleased with the new palliative care plan that allows paramedics to treat palliative patients in their own home on the instruction of their GP.

PALLIATIVE PARTNERSHIP: Narooma General Practitioner Dr John Brown and Narooma Ambulance station officer, Amber Barber are pleased with the new palliative care plan that allows paramedics to treat palliative patients in their own home on the instruction of their GP.

PALLIATIVE care patients and their families in Narooma now have more options for end of life care, thanks to collaboration between NSW Ambulance and the region’s largest health agencies.

The Southern NSW Medicare Local and the Southern NSW Local Health District have joined forces with NSW Ambulance to promote a protocol that allows paramedics to treat palliative patients in their own home on the instructions of their GP rather than transfer them to hospital.

SNSWML chief executive officer Kathryn Stonestreet explained that a NSW Ambulance authorised palliative care plan allows the paramedic responding to a Triple Zero (000) call to treat the patient in their own home according to the GP’s prescribed orders detailed in the plan.

“This could involve administering additional pain medication or providing respiratory assistance,” she said.

“At the end of life, many people express the wish to be cared for in the familiarity and comfort of their own home and this protocol permits that.”

According to Ms Stonestreet, the partnership began when the Medicare Local became aware of the NSW Ambulance authorised palliative care plan as part of its work to improve after hours health services for southern NSW communities.

Guidelines for GPs and a brochure for palliative care patients have now been distributed throughout southern NSW.

NSW Ambulance southern region clinical support manager Mark Gibbs said utilising the resources and networks of the Medicare Local to promote the plan was proving beneficial.

“NSW Ambulance attends more palliative care patients per year than any single Local Health District in the State,” he said.

“The authorised care protocol was introduced by NSW Ambulance to support paramedic decision making in meeting the needs of individual patients with specific medical conditions.”

Southern NSW Local Health District palliative care services representative Cherie Puckett said research showed that 76 per cent of Australians would prefer to die in their own homes.

“However, our most recent statistics on palliative care show that 51 per cent of palliative patients died in a hospital setting,” she said.

“The palliative care authorised plan allows palliative patients and their families to have options and during end of life care that is incredibly important.”

Narooma doctor John Brown has already used the Palliative Care Plan finding it particular beneficial to the patient because it avoided a trip to hospital.

“It was very much appreciated by the family, the patient and myself,” he said.

“It also demonstrates the fine work the Ambulance Service and paramedics provide for the community.”

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