Medibank and St Vincent’s Brisbane launch new at home palliative care service

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Medibank has announced a new partnership with St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane for a home-based palliative care pilot.

The new pilot model is available for Medibank customers living in metropolitan Brisbane.

CEO of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane Oli Steele said the model aimed to meet the needs of patients with progressive and advanced life-limiting illnesses.

“With Palliative Care at Home, a patient can live as actively as possible, for as long as possible, in the comfort of their home,” said Mr Steele.

“Through the pilot, more specialised services are now available to the patient and loved ones.”

After an initial in-home consultation, the hospital’s Specialist Palliative Care Service will develop a plan to support a patient based on their expressed needs. This could include support from a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, counsellors, pastoral care workers, and other health professionals.

If a patient’s symptoms become more complex, more intensive support is available so they can continue to be cared for in the place of their choice.

“A patient can receive extra home visits, more nursing support, urgent assessments, and specialised equipment to enable their care at home,” said Mr Steele.

According to Medibank chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan, “End of life care decisions can be one of the toughest conversations for a patient and their family to have. It can be very difficult to know what to do.

“Everyone has different needs and wishes. Often, our customers want to receive care and support in their own home. It’s why we’re piloting this new partnership with St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane, to offer an alternative.”

“With the option of palliative care at home, a Medibank customer can be surrounded by their family and friends and provided with care and comfort in their final days. However, if the home care arrangement isn’t working out, the patient can change their mind and return to hospital or another palliative care setting,” added Dr Swan.

Medibank said its Palliative Care at Home trial is currently available in several locations around Australia - metropolitan Brisbane, metropolitan Perth, northern Sydney, as well as Townsville and surrounding areas.