The NSW Government is responding to growing community expectations that the health system should provide people who are dying with choices about the place they spend their remaining days and the type of care they receive. Sometimes a person’s choices are limited by where they live or their age or the type of assistance they and their families/carers need.
For patients who wish to die at home, timely access to care for themselves and support for their families, carers and GPs in the final days is essential. During these last days, in the absence of sufficient care and support for the person who is dying and those around them, it can sometimes become too difficult to continue living at home and hospital care may be considered the only option.
Leading palliative care organisations, such as HammondCare and Silver Chain, are working with NSW local health districts to provide community-based packages, which can be mobilised quickly and offered on a tailored basis.
These services supplement the existing range of locally available services and boost the overall capacity of local palliative care services.
In some areas, the new services include specialist home nursing and support and in other areas services include personal care, domestic assistance and service coordination. This gives carers the confidence and time to support loved ones, while also reducing the likelihood of hospitalisation.
Last-days-of-life home support services are now operating in all NSW local health districts.