Palliative care services are set to be made more accessible for South Australians through a free phone service and website, providing information and connecting terminally ill patients and their families with care and support services.
Officially launching this week, Palliative Care Connect is funded by the Federal Government, providing $7.5 million over three years, through the SA Palliative Care Navigation Pilot, and is being delivered by the South Australian Government.
“The launch of Palliative Care Connect ushers in a wealth of knowledge and resources for those impacted by an end-of-life journey,” said SA Department for Health and Wellbeing Executive Director – Health Services Programs, Helen Chalmers.
“We have a passionate palliative care workforce in South Australia, and I acknowledge their integral contribution to ensure patients, carers and family members access the support they need to manage all health and end of life choices.
“I encourage those in the community impacted by palliative care, and those currently going through their end-of-life journey, to engage with these services and explore how they may be useful to you and your loved ones.”
Trained Palliative Care Navigators are available to guide and support patients, families and healthcare professionals across South Australia, through the early days of a new diagnosis of a life-limiting illness from a dedicated support and information phone line.
Palliative Care Navigators can also help connect patients to local community supports to enable them to stay at home longer, so they don’t need to be transferred to a hospital.
SA Health Minister, Chris Picton says 125 people have been supported on their palliative care journey from more than 200 phone calls taken since the service had a soft launch in October 2023.
“This is a significant milestone in improving end of life care for South Australians and their loved ones,” said Mr Picton.
“Palliative Care Connect will give comfort and support to those at one of the most difficult moments in their life. This will improve the end-of-life journey for many members of the community.
“I thank those who have helped bring it to fruition, including Mark Butler and the Federal Government.”
The new Palliative Care Connect website was developed in partnership with Flinders University. It provides key information about palliative care and bereavement, access to a service directory and a self-assessment tool designed to help individuals identify the support and resources they need.
Specialist volunteer coordination, Aboriginal and regional palliative care navigation services and bereavement navigation services will be available early this year.
“The Albanese Government welcomes the launch of Palliative Care Connect in South Australia because it means people affected by a life-limiting illness and their families have ready access to critical information, services and support to ensure they receive comprehensive and compassionate care at this most vulnerable stage of life,” said Federal Health Minister, Mark Butler.
‘Supporting Australians to find the palliative care and services which are right for them enables people to have the best quality of life at their time of greatest need.
“The Government remains committed to improving palliative care services across Australia with better access to care and medications through a stronger Medicare and cheaper medicines and growing the care workforce,” he said.
Patients, families and healthcare professionals can call 1800 725 548 (PALLI8) Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 4pm to speak with a Palliative Care Navigator. Voicemail is available after hours for a call back the following business day. People can also request a call back from a Navigator by filling out the call back form on the Palliative Care Connect website – www.palliativecareconnect.com.au.