Partnership to offer overnight respite for palliative carers

WA Health has partnered with the Silver Chain Group to improve palliative care for Western Australians.

The partnership aims to provide improved access to eligibility assessment for palliative care services and overnight respite for family carers.

A 12-month pilot will provide more than 1000 nights of respite for family carers of those in palliative care at home.

Silver Chain’s specialised overnight service will offer care for people with progressive life-limiting illness – including people who may be close to death.

The new service will provide nurses and trained support workers, who work as part of a specialist team, to go into the home to enable the family carer to sleep.

The second part of the partnership involves improving access to palliative care with the introduction of a new eligibility assessment tool that will refine triage of people’s eligibility for palliative care.

This new approach will give greater clarity, and speed up the process of referral and access, as well as improve GP and client experience with palliative care.

Medical practitioners would also be provided with a single point of contact.

Last year Silver Chain provided palliative care services to more than 3,000 people – an average of 600 people a day.

Assistant Director General Dr James Williamson said this partnership provided a much-needed service and would directly support people’s choices, including the wish to be cared for and die at home

“This partnership between WA Health and Silver Chain responds to community expectation that people should be able to choose where they die,” he said.

“The Silver Chain Group has provided quality palliative care and research on end of life care in WA for more than 30 years, particularly focused on in-home care.

“Combined with the new streamlined approach to referrals, this partnership will help people who want to be at home in their final stages of life and reduce the stress for their families and carers.”

Silver Chain CEO Dale Fisher said it was not uncommon for carer stress to overwhelm carers in meeting the needs of their loved one, particularly towards the end of their life.

“If the carer cannot continue, their loved one would have to go to a hospice or hospital, creating pressure for those services and not reflecting their wish to be at home.

“Overnight carer respite can make all the difference to the client and their carer, creating a smoother palliative care journey, including to the end of life.”

“We are pleased to co-design comprehensive services that better meet the needs of our clients and their carers.

“This initiative will further develop quality palliative care services that can be integrated across the full range of health and community care services in the future.”

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