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Access to inpatient palliative care for community patients

Mona Vale Hospital’s palliative care team is focused on making the transition from home to the palliative care unit easier and more comfortable for patients.

The unit, which opened in February 2021, works closely with community palliative care to facilitate patients being admitted directly from their home when they require further treatment, rather than having to present to an emergency department and be admitted through an acute hospital. 

This not only minimises stress for patients, said the unit’s staff specialist Dr Peter Roach, but it also provides continuity of care and rapid symptom relief when required.

“The unit enables this level of care through a range of different means that are all dependant on the patient and their wishes,” he said. 

“Direct admission from home means fewer hospital transfers for patients and families, as well as more time for the multidisciplinary team to establish a therapeutic relationship with them.

“I think this is particularly true for our patients who are at the end of their lives.

“It’s an enormous benefit to not have to consider multiple transfers and have one direct place of care.”

The unit has become the most frequent site in the district for corneal donation which is a very generous legacy patients can leave – a real gift of sight to other people and we are glad we can help with that
Dr Peter Roach

Peter works with HammondCare’s community palliative care team, alongside his role at Mona Vale Hospital to help ensure the smooth transition.

Over the past year, the unit has admitted 47 per cent of its patients directly from their homes into the unit, which is a significantly higher rate than the Australian average of other inpatient palliative care services sitting at 12.9 per cent.

Peter said the high number of community admissions are a testament to the collaborative relationships the unit has developed, alongside the multidisciplinary approach.

“The unit has collaborated so strongly with HammondCare, as well as the Northern Beaches Hospital to help make access to the unit as seamless as possible,” he said. 

“Another reason we are able to do the work we do is because of the multidisciplinary team within the unit: allied health, nursing, medical, pastoral care, ward clerk, cleaners - the amazing care that happens is because of this teamwork.”

Alongside making patients’ lives easier whilst in their care, Peter said the unit has also helped many patients leave a lasting legacy.

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