“NSW residents will have access to the highest quality care and pain management services at the end of their life, with palliative care and specialist health services to receive a record $743 million funding boost over the next five years. Premier Dominic Perrottet said the 2022-23 funding boost is on top of the $300 million the NSW Government invests each year in palliative care.”
In Aotearoa New Zealand we have to use milk and honey to make fundraising bake sale items. It is ridiculous that health care institutions have to count on sales of Chocolate Brownies and other baked goods in order to maintain free services to eligible patients in the community they serve. Literally having to sell baked goods in order to try to save staff jobs. We really do need a hand here, as we don’t want good patient care to have to depend on our baking supplies.
“Sorry Mrs Smith I can’t admit you because we have run out of flour. I would like to see you in the outpatient clinic Mr Kim but we can’t find any cocoa.”
Where is the kindness for some of the most vulnerable in our population? Palliative Care is not just about end-of-life care, but the care that is required in the time leading up to death, which might be 6 to 12 months or even longer. It is not just physical care that is required but psychosocial/spiritual/cultural care as well. The dying members of Aotearoa’s population deserve to be treated better.
“Sorry Mrs Ihaka, you can’t come become a hospice patient because we ran out of vanilla essence.”
What if hospices had to reduce services or shut down?
Who would care for all of the patients and families that we help?
Would the already over-stretched hospital sector be able to cope?
I had been on call for the hospital when the little old Chinese man had first presented to hospital. They had discussed his situation, a large stomach cancer which kept on bleeding, and that his Hb level was only 41. My opinion was that he was dying from recurrent bleeding that could not be stopped. My advice was that the hospital team have a discussion with the patient and family about the fact that his bleeding would be a life-ending event, that further transfusions would not be able to keep up with the amount of bleeding that was happening.
Some of my advice was taken, but not everything. It was as if the hospital doctors had spoken to me in a second language, one that didn’t lead to mutual understanding. They did end up having a conversation with the patient and his daughter about no further transfusions, but this was after transfusing one more unit of blood. The hospital doctor could speak Mandarin with the patient and family. He told them that the last unit of blood was an, “especially strong unit of blood, and would give him an extra boost.” Following this final transfusion the patient was sent across to the hospice.
Dr Benjamin Thomas’s excellent thread about economic justice for palliative care patients in the context of the announcement of a likely announcement regarding the Government funding around 200-250 patients for $500,000 each to receive CAR-T treatment.
He calculates what we could do for palliative care patients with the same money.
It’s election time again! Honestly, we have not had a new Prime Minister for ages in Australia. We sadly can’t have Jacinda Ardern, but there it is.
Dr Benjamin Thomas (@andiyarus) has been tweeting up a storm putting pressure on the powers-that-be and the powers-that-wannabe in advocating for #palliativecare patients in the upcoming election. He visited the @Palliverse to answer a few questions for us. Continue reading →
Palliverse has heard about two PhD scholarships in the area of improving psychosocial support and education for people with cancer and their carers, at Curtin University in Perth, WA. Scholarships are available to health professionals (particularly nurses and radiation therapists). For more details see the Curtin University website.
It’s a couple of years old now, but still good…. Here is the introduction to an article in the Conversation about how Australians need support to die at home. Should be mandatory reading for politicians and health service policy makers!
“The baby boomers are growing old and in the next 25 years the number of Australians who die each year will double. People want to die comfortably at home, supported by family and friends and effective services.
But more than half of Australians die in hospital and about a third die in residential care. Sometimes they have impersonal, lingering and lonely deaths; many feel disempowered.
Grattan Institute’s Dying Well report sets out how we can improve the quality of dying in Australia. With an investment of A$237 million, we can double the number of people who are supported to die at home – and the same amount could be released from institutional care spending to pay for it.”
I am the program manager for the Palliative Care Research Network Victoria (PCRNV).
What does PCRNV do?
We try to gain funding to conduct clinical and community intervention research. The PCRNV also provides an opportunity to network and collaborate with other palliative care researchers through PCRNV forums and workshops.
We also help with access to a variety of PCRNV funding schemes including; PhD scholarship, small project and travel grants. There can be support with developing your research idea into a potential project and grant proposals via the PCRNV Concept Development Workshops and also mentoring.
But, it’s not right to do research on people who are dying, is it?
Check out the Harkness fellowship for a paid 12 month period in the USA for you and your family. It’s available to applicants from Australia and New Zealand (due by 8th Sept) and also Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (due in November).
You will probably need a Master’s degree or a PhD, or at least a bachelor’s degree plus applicable work experience.
They would like “a research proposal that falls within the scope of The Commonwealth Fund’s mission …… the Fund’s priority areas include: expanding access to affordable health insurance coverage; transforming the health care delivery system to improve patient outcomes and control costs through payment reform, primary care, and coordinated care systems, with a particular focus on the sickest and most vulnerable patients; learning from successful international delivery system innovation.”
Love that they are looking for “the kinds of game-changing ideas that can potentially disrupt the current health care system in positive ways.”
Applications for the Australian Association of Gerontology’s R M Gibson Scientific Research Fund are now open. “The aim of the R M Gibson Scientific Research Fund is to encourage good research particularly from newer researchers in the fields of ageing across all disciplines. The R M Gibson Scientific Research Fund will distribute $15,000 amongst three cutting edge research projects in 2015.”