Project Report

A new model for a palliative approach to care in Australia


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Emily Saurman1
PhD, Research Fellow – Rural Health *

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Sarah Wenham2
FAChPM, Specialist Palliative Care Physician

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Melissa Cumming3
MPallC, Director Cancer Services, Innovation (Rural) & Palliative Care


1 Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, University of Sydney, PO BOX 457, Broken Hill, NSW 2880, Australia

2, 3 Far West Local Health District, Broken Hill, NSW 2880, Australia

ACCEPTED: 1 June 2021

early abstract:

Introduction: There is an inconsistent provision of palliative and end-of-life (palliative) care across Australia, particularly in regional, rural, and remote areas. Systematic solutions can help to address identified gaps and improve access to and the quality of care and support for patients, their families and carers at the end of life. The ‘Far West NSW Palliative and End-of-Life Model of Care’ (Model) is a systematic solution for a rural and remote palliative approach to care. The Model enables a consistent and contextually adaptable, patient-focused palliative approach to care so that everyone receives the care they need from appropriately skilled and informed clinicians, in a timely manner, and as close to home as possible.
Methods: A narrative report using literature and internal documents as well as the perspective and experience of key informants involved in establishing the ‘Far West NSW Palliative and End-of-Life Model of Care’. This narrative report aims to:
•    Describe the design, development, and function of the Model; and
•    Identify the essential elements to implement or maintain the Model elsewhere.
Results: The Model was developed by the Specialist Palliative Care Service in the remotely situated Far West Local Health District of NSW. The Far West NSW Palliative and End of Life Model of Care was designed to guide a palliative approach to care in the last year of life, through death, and into bereavement; regardless of age, diagnosis, culture, location, or provider. The Model functionally provides the scaffolding upon which locally and contextually relevant components for a quality palliative approach to care could be applied in consideration of the person’s wishes. There are three essential elements to the development, maintenance, and further implementation of the Model and a palliative approach elsewhere.
Conclusion: Until recently, the Model relied on paper-based documents and resources; it is now available online. It has the potential to enable a consistent yet contextually adaptable, patient-focused palliative approach to care.