By Tate Papworth
More than 600 patients have accessed a 24-hour palliative care service in Brimbank since it was launched in April.
Mercy Palliative Care services manager Fran Gore said the service was a giant step forward.
In the first six weeks that the new service was available, 89 patients were visited by a palliative care nurse between the hours of 10.30pm–7am.
In the six-weeks prior to that, district nurses provided advice to 64 patients, with 25 of them providing home visits.
“Comparatively, this represents a dramatic improvement in service to the community,” Ms Gore said.
“Patients and their families are greatly comforted by the increased access to specialised care, giving them improved quality of end-of-life care.
“We expect an average of three to six extra visits a night; these are people who previously weren’t receiving care.”
Before the 24-hour service was introduced it was not uncommon for community palliative care services to use a district nursing service to attend to overnight calls for assistance.
Ms Gore said the new service offered more specialised care.
“With our specialised overnight service, we hope to provide holistic end-of-life care for individuals and their families whenever they need it,” she said.
“When a patient contacts the 24-hour palliative care number, they now speak directly with the specialist palliative care nurse who will be visiting them that evening.
“The nurse provides advice to them over the phone and gives them an estimated time of arrival to their home.”