Winners and Losers in Palliative Care Service Delivery: Time for a Public Health Approach to Palliative and End of Life Care
journal contributionposted on 2022-01-05, 04:43 authored by Samar AounSamar Aoun, R Richmond, L Jiang, Bruce RumboldBruce Rumbold
Background: Consumer experience of palliative care has been inconsistently and selectively investigated. Methods: People in Western Australia who had experienced a life limiting illness in the past five years were recruited via social media and care organisations (2020) and invited to complete a cross sectional consumer survey on their experiences of the care they received. Results: 353 bereaved carers, current carers and patients responded. The winners, those who received the best quality end-of-life care, were those who were aware of palliative care as an end-of-life care (EOLC) option, qualified for admission to and were able to access a specialist palliative care program, and with mainly a cancer diagnosis. The losers, those who received end-of-life care that was adequate rather than best practice, were those who were unaware of palliative care as an EOLC option or did not qualify for or were unable to access specialist palliative care and had mainly a non-cancer diagnosis. Both groups were well supported throughout their illness by family and a wider social network. However, their family carers were not adequately supported by health services during caregiving and bereavement. Conclusions: A public health approach to palliative and end of life care is proposed to integrate tertiary, primary, and community services through active consumer engagement in the design and delivery of care. Therefore, suggested strategies may also have relevance in many other international settings.