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Palliative Care Services in the Region | Accessing Specialist Palliative Care Services | Making Referrals to Palliative Care Services | Advanced Care Planning | ICAP | Education & Training | Monthly Update | Useful Resources

This section provides health care professionals essential palliative care information about inpatient, consultancy and community palliative care services, general guidance on how to access palliative care services and make referrals to specialist palliative care services.

Palliative Care Services in the Southern Metropolitan Region

Palliative care in the Southern Metropolitan Region incorporates a range of services including inpatient and community palliative care services, and hospital consultancies.

The needs of people who are dying and their families span the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual domains. Palliative care services in the Southern Metropolitan Region embrace a multidisciplinary team approach with a blending and coordination of skills and disciplines.

Services are provided by a range of skilled service providers including:

  • medical practitioners - general practitioners, palliative care specialists, and other specialist physicians with a related interest;
  • nurses - primary and specialist nurses in the community, hospital and inpatient palliative care settings, and independent nurse practitioners;
  • allied health professionals - social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, music therapists, psychologists, pharmacists, dietitians and speech pathologists;
  • Aboriginal health workers;
  • volunteers;
  • support workers - nurse assistants, personal care attendants, community welfare and diversional therapists; bereavement counsellors;
  • spiritual carers from a range of pastoral, spiritual and cultural backgrounds;
  • professionals with language skills and cultural knowledge of ethnic groups;
  • therapists skilled in art, massage, aromatherapy, or colour.

Beyond the palliative care team, a number of other services may help to support people who are dying and their families in, for example, areas such as financial planning, legal issues, and funerals. (Adapted from the National Palliative Care Strategy October 2000)

Accessing Specialist Palliative Care Services

To access palliative care services in the Southern Metropolitan Region people may be referred to palliative care services by hospitals, general practitioners, specialists and other health service providers.

People wishing to access community palliative care services may also self refer or be referred by carers, family and friends.

Making Referrals to Palliative Care Services

Any health care professional can refer to a palliative care service. Health care professionals are encouraged to use the Palliative Care Referral Tool to make referrals to palliative care services.

  • For more information about making referrals go to the Referrals section.

Advance Care Planning

In order to achieve optimum care for a patient with a life limiting illness, it is important to discuss different options for care in the future as early as possible. An Advance Care Plan gives a patient the opportunity to record, ahead of time, the choices they would like to make about their future treatment. An Advance Care Plan only comes into effect if the patient loses legal capacity to make decisions about their medical treatment.

Further information on Advance Care Planning may be found on the following websites:

  1. Department of Health, Victoria, Australia
  2. Respecting Patient Choices
  3. Office of the Public Advocate

During 2014, the Advance Care Planning Working Group at the Frankston Mornington-Peninsula Medicare Local developed an online resource created as a result of the Ageing Well Alliance work on this: Peninsula Model

Please also note the Victorian Department of Health recently constructed an excellent ACP information and resources page: Better Health Channel for Consumers

Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach

The Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) is designed to improve the skills, confidence and expertise of health practitioners who care for people who are dying and their families. This includes general practitioners, nurses, allied health and Aboriginal health workers.

PEPA has three core components:

  • supervised clinical placements that build workforce capacity and enhance links between specialist and generalist health care professionals
  • workshops that provide an introduction to the palliative approach
  • post placement support activities which provide professional development, networking and education opportunities

For further information: Palliative Care Programs or PEPA Education

Improving Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients (ICAP)

Best Practice Information Package

Discharge planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

‘This information package is about improving the ‘visibility’ of Aboriginal patient’s needs within routine hospital processes and as a result, presenting hospitals more positively as places where appropriate health care can be accessed. This in turn will reduce the ‘fear factor’ often associated with hospitalisation by Aboriginal patients, and decrease the number of readmissions to wards and repetitive attendances at emergency departments. It will also facilitate collaborative practices with local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO) and general practitioners; and offer a culturally comfortable structure for the continuance of high quality health care after hospitalisation.’
(Quote from document)

Click here to view ICAP document

Education & Training Opportunities

The 2017 Education & Training Opportunities Calendar identifies education and training opportunities for specialist palliative care providers and health professionals who work in the palliative approach.

The calendar includes professional development activities and accredited courses delivered within the Southern Metro Region or venues that are easily accessible for staff working in the SMR (usually City venues). All activities are relevant to palliative care.

If you would like to include an activity on the calendar, please contact Stephenie Cook, Training Coordinator

CLICK HERE! to view the calendar.

For additional training and education opportunities the following organisations offer health professional education relevant to palliative care. To view the organisation’s current education/training calendar simply click on their name below.

Regional Palliative Care Monthly Update

Each month the SMRPCC distributes an email update which includes training opportunities, useful resources and Consortium news.

CLICK HERE! to access previously distributed Monthly Updates.

To subscribe to the Monthly Update CLICK HERE!

Useful Resources

Caresearch - Palliative Care knowledge network Southern Melbourne Intergated Cancer Service (SMICS)

CareSearch is an online resource of palliative care information and evidence including:

SMICS is committed to working with clinicians, consumer / carer representatives, general practitioners and community service providers to identify opportunities for improvement and implement strategies that will enhance the treatment and care that is provided to patients with cancer in our region. Go to the SMICS website.