Research: Uncovering pathways to home-based palliative support

QUT PhD student - Norah Elvidge.

New research led by QUT and funded by Silverchain aims to identify factors that facilitate receiving palliative care at home and dying in one’s preferred place.

Norah Elvidge, a QUT PhD student, highlights the desire for home-based palliative care among many but notes existing barriers, such as insufficient community resources or lack of primary caregivers. These barriers often lead to unplanned hospitalisations, contrary to patients’ wishes.

Ms Elvidge said that while Australian and international research had consistently shown that many people with palliative care needs would prefer to die at home, there were still many barriers to accessing the level of palliative care needed to die comfortably at home.

“Although many people have a desire for palliative care to occur at home, unplanned hospitalisations in the last weeks or days of life can occur if the person’s care needs exceed available community resources or they lack a primary carer or their primary carer is exhausted,” Ms Elvidge said.

Silverchain’s National Director of Research and Evidence Professor Karen Smith said equity of access was essential in meeting people’s end-of-life needs.

“Silverchain offers comprehensive palliative care in the home, meeting acute care needs, but there are still inconsistencies across the sector nationally that create barriers for people needing to access this type of care,” Professor Smith added.

Elvidge’s project, supported by her nursing background, aims to uncover factors prolonging home-based palliative care and improving end-of-life experiences. The research seeks to inform healthcare policies and sustainable care models.

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