An online patient consulting initiative has made a difference to hundreds of Gold Coasters in need of Palliative Care in a little more than 12 months.
Since its introduction to the health service in March 2017, some 460 Gold Coast Health patients have benefited from the Telehealth interactive video-conferencing system.
Gold Coast Health Director of Palliative Care Dr Andrew Broadbent says the rationale behind the model-of-care is aligned directly with this year’s National Palliative Care Week theme of ‘What Matters Most.’
“When a patient is referred to our Palliative Care Service, they have reached a point in their care where their illness is life-limiting and their medical needs become more about quality of life and empowering them to make the most of their time,” Dr Broadbent said.
“With any terminal illness, there is of course only so much we as clinicians can control, however the Telehealth system helps us to use valuable time more efficiently and improve their care by giving us a better overall picture of their needs.
“Giving patients rapid access to a member of our Supportive and Specialist Palliative Care Service also reduces the need to travel to specialists for consultations and subsequently enables patients to spend more time in the comfort of their own home.”
Clinical Nurse Julie Murphy sees the difference the technology makes for patients, their carers and families first-hand.
“Essentially we take the point of care to the patient,” she said.
“We visit the patient at home with an iPad and call in to the medical consultant desktop at either Robina Hospital or Gold Coast University Hospital.
“It’s very satisfying to be able to facilitate that face-to-face interaction for the patient and their families and see the comfort this can provide them.”
Diabetes clinics, renal clinics and pain management are other areas of the health service striving to use the Telehealth as part of daily operations in the future.
Gold Coast Health’s Palliative Care team is actively caring for more than 220 patients in the community.