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End-of-Life Care program to pilot in Newcastle

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Newcastle will become home to the first end-of-life care initiative later this year, after BaptistCare was chosen as its preferred provider earlier this month. 

The Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) has commissioned the innovative pilot program to assist those diagnosed with a life-limiting illness access the health care they need. 

The End-of-Life Care Coordination in Primary Care Pilot Program was developed in response to needs identified in the PHN’s Palliative Care Needs Assessment. 

HNECC PHN CEO Richard Nankervis said the goal of the initiative was to support more people’s preference to be cared for and die at home.  

“Our Palliative Care Needs Assessment identified that many people wish to receive end-of-life care and die in their home rather than in the hospital setting,” he said.  

“Our aim was to develop a program that ensures people who wish to die at home have access to the primary health care they need to live their last months, comfortably.” 

Via a competitive tender exercise, BaptistCare, who operates in NSW, ACT and WA have been commissioned to provide the pilot program across the Newcastle Local Government Area (LGA). 

BaptistCare Home Care services general manager Sarah Newman said they welcomed the opportunity to provide one-on-one support to individuals and their families as they navigated the final stage of life. 

“BaptistCare has a long history of service in the Hunter and Central Coast regions. For several decades, we have provided support such as in-home aged care, residential aged care, specialised care for people transitioning home after hospital, and support for people who are vulnerable and living on the margins with food security, housing and homelessness services,” she explained.

“We are delighted to be continuing to show our deep commitment to the region through this partnership with the HNECC PHN. 

“There are many components to great palliative care: emotional, interpersonal, cultural, physical, spiritual, medical and practical.  

“Everyone can have a different set of things that matter most to them.  

“Our role in this program is to walk alongside people to facilitate access to the services they want and need and support what is important to them in journeying through this final stage of life. 

“Our care team looks forward to supporting people to feel in control and have the practical support and expertise in place to experience a meaningful end-of-life in the way that they choose.” 

The program will be available to people aged 65 years and older (55 years and older for First Nations people), diagnosed with a non-malignant life limiting illness, likely in their final twelve months of life and with limited community support. 

The program is currently in the establishment phase with referral pathways being developed. 

The service will begin in April. 

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