Palliative care in rural Australia: involving the community in multidisciplinary coordinated care
Moorhouse, CP and George, M and Smith, E, Palliative care in rural Australia: involving the community in multidisciplinary coordinated care, Australian Journal of Primary Health Interchange, 6, (3-4) pp. 141-146. ISSN 1324-2296 (2000) [Refereed Article]
This paper describes the process and outcomes of a project aimed at promoting community based multidisciplinary coordinated palliative care services in rural Australia. In preliminary health service needs assessment in rural Tasmania, key health workers appealed for additional information, support and education in palliative care. They expressed a preference for this education to be delivered locally to strengthen existing knowledge in communities and to take into account contextual factors. The project aimed to enhance skills available in rural communities by involving key stakeholders including formal and informal carers, volunteers, clergy, pharmacists, community nurses and general practitioners. The project objective was to strengthen existing expertise and commitment in rural communities, enabling service providers to respond to community needs in a sustainable way. This was achieved by facilitating options for sustainable linkages and ongoing support and through outreach programs from urban Palliative Care Units. An important element in this was the Tasmanian Telehealth network, which harnesses videoconferencing, digital diagnostic equipment and image transmission technologies to offer access to healthcare services to Tasmania's rural and isolated communities. The process centred on workshops facilitated by a multidisciplinary team, which provided information about the core components of palliative care. The paper reports on the responses of health professionals and community participants to the workshops.