Telepalliative Care and Queensland Ambulance Service

January 2018December 2019
Metro South Health

Although it can vary as an illness progresses, preference to die at home is a major focus for people with a life-limiting illness and their families. While the majority of people prefer to die in their home, many deaths do not occur in the home. One of the main reasons that people’s wish to die at home is not fulfilled is due to a lack of social or community-based support to facilitate care at home. There is some evidence, however, to suggest that paramedics play an integral role in hospital admissions when someone is close to death.

A paramedic service with real-time video links to a palliative care service (i.e. telepalliative care) may be able to facilitate support and advice in the patient’s home at a time when carers are unsure of how to proceed or when pain relief is needed. There is little or no research that demonstrates how such a telehealth service may benefit people with life-limiting illnesses and their families/carers.

In February 2016, the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Services (GCHHS) Telepalliative Care Service, was introduced. This telepalliative model of care involves videoconsultations between community carers (e.g. from non-government organisations) in a patient’s home and palliative staff in the GCHHS Supportive and Specialist Palliative Care service.  Expansion of the telepalliative care service to supports paramedics attending people with a life-limiting illness has just commenced. The new service provides real-time, in-home videoconference advice, in support of the attending paramedics, by the Palliative Care Service.

The Centre for Online Health will research to examine paramedics’ acceptance and adoption of the new telepalliative care service and evaluate the impact of the consultation model on patient outcomes.

Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service staff

  • Dr Andrew Broadbent
  • Ms Julie-Ann Brydon
  • Ms Alyssia Berghammer

Queensland Ambulance Service staff

  • Mr James McManus

Project members

Dr Helen Haydon

Research Fellow
Centre for Health Services Research

Professor Anthony Smith

Centre for Health Services Research

Dr Annie Banbury

Research Fellow
Centre for Health Services Research