Health Care Professionals
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
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;
health professionals - social workers, physiotherapists, occupational
therapists, music therapists, psychologists, pharmacists, dietitians
and speech pathologists;
- Aboriginal health workers;
- support workers - nurse assistants, personal care attendants,
community welfare and diversional therapists; bereavement
- 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
health care professional can refer to a palliative care service.
Health care professionals are encouraged to use the Palliative
Referral Tool to make referrals
- 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:
Department of Health, Victoria, Australia
Respecting Patient Choices
Office of the Public Advocate
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
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
Events - Education
|Caresearch - Palliative
Care knowledge network
Melbourne Intergated Cancer Service (SMICS)
is an online
resource of palliative care information and evidence including:
committed to working with clinicians, consumer / carer representatives,
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