Bupa Australia palliative care pilot wins award for innovation
A pilot palliative care programme giving people with terminal illness a choice over how they spend their last months has fulfilled the final wish of nine in 10 patients since its launch.
Research suggests that while 70 percent of Australians would choose to die at home, only 14 percent actually do. That is why Bupa Australia partnered with St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane in August 2016 to create the Palliative Care Choices pilot programme, giving patients at the end of their lives in Brisbane the option to be cared for at home, if that’s what they choose.
In the first year of its two-year pilot, 133 Bupa Australia customers participated in the programme and 95 percent of those who chose to die at home were able to do so, including Maxine who was 67 when she died after a prolonged illness with lung cancer.
Patients received personalised care at home including specialist medical and nursing care, overnight nursing assistance, counselling and allied health services (like physiotherapy), if they needed it.
“She was much happier being a home than she would have been in hospital. They came every second day to top up drugs in her pump, until the last couple of weeks in Maxine’s life when they came in every day to help manage the pain,” Maxine’s husband, Phil, said.
“I believe she probably survived quite a few months longer with the pump and the care she got at home. She just didn’t want to be in hospital.”
The two-year pilot, which will continue until August 2018, was recognised at the Bupa Global Clinical Excellence Awards last month, taking the award for Clinical Innovation.
Natalie Dubrowin, Head of Health Programs & Quality at Bupa, is proud of the work done in the programme.
She said: “The programme represents a Queensland first in the private sector, empowering Bupa patients with a life-limiting condition to choose where to die – and be cared for – as the end of their life approaches.
“The Bupa team, in partnership with the specialist palliative care team at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane, have successfully designed, implemented and evolved an innovative solution that overcomes key challenges in delivering cost-effective specialist palliative care.”
Read more about the programme here
Read Maxine’s story here