Palliative funds for cancer-hit

By Madeleine Caccianiga

Goulburn Valley Health plans to put the Victorian Government palliative care funding toward home care and cancer patients’ early referral.

The government will fund the Hospital To Home and PERFECT project as part of the $9million announced last week to help patients nearing the end of their lives in palliative care.

GVH specialist physician Dr Siva Subramaniam said the projects were designed by the Goulburn Palliative Care team that serviced the region.

‘‘We’re taking the fear out of the word palliative,’’ Dr Subramaniam said.

He said the team had grown from one worker caring for about 100 cases per year to five staff members caring for more than 400 patients a year.

The Hospital To Home project will be ran by a clinical nurse specialist to plan, support and care for patients at home during the end of their life. The PERFECT project will assist patients diagnosed with cancer.

Dr Subramaniam said the second project would enable those diagnosed to have a screening for potential automatic referral.

He said a clinic would be set up to review and refer patients, but at this stage it would only be available for patients diagnosed with cancer.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said palliative care doctors, nurses and services played a pivotal role in making sure patients at the end of their lives were cared for in the manner they deserved.

‘‘We’re helping palliative care services with this important work by giving them the support they need to grow and to offer patients the very best care,’’ Ms Mikakos said.

The funding is part of the $72million boost in the Victorian Budget 2019/20 for hospital and community-based palliative care.