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This was an innovation project supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Lead organisations

  • Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Partners

  • Melbourne City Mission Palliative Care
  • Mercy Palliative Care

Summary

Supporting patients to die in their place of choice can improve quality of life, satisfaction with care and avoid unnecessary healthcare expenses. 

However, despite the presence of palliative care services across metropolitan Melbourne, the proportion of patients receiving end-of-life care at home in their place of choice is progressively falling. 

Deaths in hospital and unplanned hospitalisations are also on the rise, indicating that patients are missing out on optimal palliative care.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre launched a multidisciplinary team to enable more people to receive end-of-life care in their place of preference, providing specialised palliative care services in the community and facilitating faster discharge of patients from hospital by providing necessary support.

Aims

  • Provide same-day assessment of palliative care patients and their carers with urgent care needs in their preferred care environment
  • Increase the number of patients who die in their place of choice 
  • Improve care of patients with complex medical conditions
  • Reduce unplanned hospitalisations
  • Improve patient and carer satisfaction
  • Enhance person-centred care

Outcomes

  • Provided 342 episodes of care to 282 patients in 12 months, with 66 per cent seen on the day of referral
  • Supported more people to die in their place of preference, with 89 per cent of the 172 patients seen who died during the project dying at home or in residential aged care – a significant improvement of on the statewide average of 14 per cent
  • Avoided 305 hospital bed days by extending specialist palliative care skills to the community and facilitating early discharge for patients seeking to receive care at home

Update

December 2017 – The Royal Melbourne Hospital has agreed to continue funding RAPID Assist and plans to embed the service in the hospital’s Hospital in the Home team. 

Project summary

Page last updated: 18 Dec 2020

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