Telepalliative care

Palliative care is defined by the World Health Organization as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual” (World Health Organization, 2019).

Telehealth-facilitated models of palliative care aim to be patient-focused enabling people with a life-limiting illness to consult with palliative clinicians and allied health professionals without the need to leave their homes (e.g. own house, residential aged care facility). For people experiencing symptoms of advanced disease, telehealth can reduce the discomfort of travel (regardless of distance), and time sitting and waiting in clinical waiting rooms as well as reduce exposure to contagious diseases that are often in higher levels in clinical environments.

Collaborations between the Centre for Online Health and palliative care and primary care services across Australia and overseas have led to a growing program of applied research in telepalliative care. A highlight is the National Palliative Care ECHO program funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.