A new, free smartphone app is giving GPs access to specialist medical advice to care for older palliative patients at home or in residential care across Australia.
The Decision Assist Program app, called palliAGED, helps GPs to plan and provide palliative care by informing clinical processes and prescribing support for common symptoms that patients experience in the terminal phase.
The app, which was launched last week (and featured on ABC News on Sunday evening), was designed and developed following a review of available digital resources for palliative and aged care, which revealed limited existing tools to support GPs in providing care to patients nearing the end of their life.
Chief Investigator of the Decision Assist Program, Associate Professor of Palliative and Supportive Services at Flinders University, Jennifer Tieman, said the app brings together a unique set of resources and information accessible to GPs across Australia, including those in rural and remote areas.
“The Decision Assist Program has highlighted the importance of ensuring our health professionals are well trained and have access to specialist medical advice in the area of palliative care,” said Associate Professor Tieman.
“The app is just one of a suite of free resources for GPs on palliative care and advance care planning that have developed by Decision Assist,” she said.
Assistant Director of Metro South Palliative Care Service, Dr Greg Parker, said the new smartphone app provided many benefits for doctors.
“GPs who are called upon to treat elderly patients in a residential care or at home setting may have limited experience providing palliative care,” Dr Parker said.
“The app provides information that will help them manage and care for their patients in the final stages of their life,” he said.
The Decision Assist Project is funded by the Australian Government to build capacity, linkages and access to palliative care and advance care planning to assist older people using aged care services.
The Decision Assist Program is being undertaken by a consortium of eight expert organisations: Austin Health, Aged and Community Care Australia (ACSA), (ANZSPM), Flinders University, LASA, Palliative Care Australia, University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology. Austin Health is the lead organisation.
The palliAGED app can be downloaded at the following stores: