Rod MacLeod MNZM is Senior Staff Specialist and Director of the HammondCare Learning & Research Centre, Greenwich Hospital and Conjoint Professor in Palliative Care at the University of Sydney Northern Clinical School, Australia. In this background post to his longer article in the June issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care, Prof MacLeod explains how their website contributes to a ‘state-wide’ education programme that aims to enable people to die at home.
How do people learn about palliative care? Unless they go on a specialist training programme it is likely that they listen to lectures, read journals and other media or pick it up from specialist colleagues.
One of the things that occurred to me back in 1988 when I was first learning about palliative care was that, unless we could find effective methods of providing general practitioners and other members of the primary healthcare team with education about what matters most in palliative care, we would not be able to make progress. Over the years, many have tried with varying success to make a difference through education.
In late 2013, the New South Wales state government in Australia allocated $35 million to four palliative care providers, to enable people to die at home. One of these, HammondCare, formed a consortium with palliative care providers Sacred Heart Health Service and Calvary Health Care Sydney Ltd, in collaboration with local health districts and specialist palliative care services, to provide a programme to enable this. Part of that project involved creating a ‘state-wide’ education programme. We saw this as an opportunity to develop an innovative way to provide information to healthcare professionals and the community. Rather than trying to reach every area of the state (which covers over 800,000 km2) to deliver seminars and lectures we opted to create a website www.palliativecarebridge.com.au that would have a broad reach and cover as many topics as we could think of concerning care near the end of life that people could use when and where they liked.
The Palliative Care Bridge delivers over 60 short educational videos and other resources on palliative care by respected experts in their fields. Our aim is to better equip users of the site to gain confidence and specialised knowledge in the delivery of appropriate palliative care to people in need. We aimed to cover all the usual topics but rather than providing the classical hour-long talk we aimed to provide ten to fifteen minutes of ‘tips and tricks’ on many topics that would help people in their provision of care. The website also includes printable resources including assessment tools, a booklet on pain management, resources for conveying information to Aboriginal people about life-limiting illness and a directory of bereavement services and counselling. The presentations aren’t just by health professionals either. We have interviews with patients and carers of people who are dying.
The reach of the website has been worldwide. The main users are in Australia and New Zealand but we have had visitors from many parts of the world. Please visit it. We welcome feedback from anyone with comments, criticisms and suggestions for improvements and additions.
Read the full article in the European Journal of Palliative Care
This post relates to a longer article, The Palliative Care Bridge, an online training resource for palliative care staff by Rod MacLeod, published in the May/June 2016 edition of the European Journal of Palliative Care (vol. 23.3).
If you have a web-based subscription to the journal you can download this issue, plus all articles in the journal archive. You can also browse the archive and download articles by taking a 10-minute or 30-minute subscription. Members of the EAPC receive discounted subscription rates to the journal – click here to subscribe online.