Funding boost for end-of-life research at Flinders

South Australia will become a national leader in palliative care research with major new funding from the Australian Government.

Of the $60 million granted for end-of-life care projects, Flinders University will receive more than $8 million of the 2017 National Palliative Care Program.

These grants, announced this week by the Minister for Health and Sport Greg Hunt, will support nationally important research at Flinders University at a time when palliative care demand in Australia has widened, along with public discussion around making provisions for end-of-life care.

While the need for palliative care can affect people at any age, Australia’s ageing population and a rise in chronic and incurable illnesses has seen an increase in palliative care service provision.

In 2014-15, 65,000 hospitalisations were palliative care-related and 46% of patients who died as an admitted patient received palliative care (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Palliative care outcomes 2016).

CareSearch palliative care knowledge network provides suite of online resources that help health professionals provide end-of-life care to their patients.
CareSearch palliative care knowledge network provides suite of online resources that help health professionals provide end-of-life care to their patients.

Professor Jennifer Tieman, Dean of Research at Flinders University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, says the successful CareSearch program has been awarded $7.85 million in total, through several projects:

  • CareSearch has been given $3.6 million, which will enable the palliative care knowledge network to expand work with three sectors; aged care, patients and carers and allied health.
  • CareSearch is part of a new $15 million consortium looking at specialist palliative care and advance care planning advisory services. Within that, $4 million will be directed to Flinders University to undertake several streams of work, which will include providing a new website, a navigation advisory system, creating a digital dashboard and a series of toolkits.
  • CareSearch is also partnering with three other projects to deliver outcomes for the sector and for the community. The CareSearch team is partnering with HammondCare’s Advance Project, St Vincent’s Hospital’s Australian carer toolkit for advanced disease, and Metro South Hospital and Health Care’s package Caring Safely for Australians at Home.
Professor Jennifer Tieman and Kim Devery pictured here in  2015.
Professor Jennifer Tieman and Kim Devery pictured here in 2015.

In addition, Kim Devery, Head of Palliative and Supportive Services, and Deb Rawlings and Deidre Morgan at Flinders University, have won $743,061 for End of Life Essentials for Acute Hospital Clinicians.

This grant will build on the impact of their previous grant where thousands of health care professionals around Australia completed the online education and over 100,000 visited the website to access quality resources. The new grant will expand the online education and allow work to continue with the sector to aim for high quality end-of-life care.

“These funds will allow Flinders University to consolidate our proud history of contributing to the community,” says Professor Tieman. “There is an increasing need to focus on palliative care as Australia’s population ages.”

“Our research will move into new areas, and expand the range of evidence based information we can provide about palliative care to patients, families, people working in residential aged care and community aged care, primary care staff and health professionals working in hospitals and palliative care services.

“The leadership in palliative care research at Flinders University will continue to grow, offering support for those who need end-of-life care and those who work with palliative care patients.”

Flinders University also offers a suite of courses in this area with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

 

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