Grant received for Pilot project to improve palliative care – Helping Hand

Pilot project to improve palliative care

Just in time for National Palliative Care Week, (24-30 May 2020) Helping Hand is pleased to be the recipient of a grant from the South Australian government for an innovative trial that will help explore the option for more of our elderly to spend their final months in the comfort of aged care rather than a hospital.

Helping Hand’s Right Place, Right Care Project is a collaborative initiative with the Northern Adelaide Palliative Service, SA Ambulance Service and Registry of South Australians, and will provide up to six rooms at a Helping Hand residential aged care home for staff to gain skills and insight into the care and support needs of older people in the terminal phase of life.

The grant is one of 16 awarded in the Palliative Care 2020 Grants Program to date, and forms part of the state government’s $16 million commitment to improve and diversify quality palliative care options in South Australia.

Helping Hand has initiated The Right Place, Right Care Project which aims to dedicate a number of beds in one of its Adelaide care homes and bring in expertise around the provision of expert palliative care to educate and train its staff, as well as to provide evidence that high quality palliative care services can be provided in residential aged care, with the support of outreach services, permitting our elderly to die in a home-like environment. This project is particularly targeted at older people who require palliative care but don’t need to be in an acute hospital palliative unit.

Helping Hand’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Stewart welcomed the funding, saying that not only would the project provide insight into how the sector can provide a better end of life experience for older people, but it would also help their families and significant others.

“This project recognizes our role as a leading organization in co-creating new service models,” said Mr Stewart.

“Aged care is an evolving service and we are proud to be at the forefront of designing new ways of supporting older people and their families.”

It is hoped this project will demonstrate the benefit of older people remaining in a comfortable setting around familiar faces, rather than going to hospital for their final weeks or months. Families and spouses can visit more easily and feel confident their loved ones are in the best possible place.

“When older people are supported to spend their final months in aged care, rather than hospital, the costs to families are also greatly reduced. Another benefit is that acute care and palliative care unit beds in hospital can be freed up for people who require more intensive levels of palliative care,” said Mr Stewart.

“This project gives us the time and the resources to allow us to create solutions together in a considered way. The solutions will benefit not just the project partners but have potential to be upscaled to other organisations and areas nationally. We look forward to the initial results of the first stage in September this year, and the overall results in April 2021.”

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