Benchmarking tool puts hospice at top

Some of the team at St John of God Murdoch Community Hospice

St John of God Murdoch Community Hospice is one of six services across Australia to achieve outstanding results against Australian benchmarks for palliative care.

Director Hospice and Palliative Medicine Services Alison Parr said the team has worked together to achieve this result through the benchmarks set and measured by the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC), a national program that helps service providers improve their care.

“I am extremely proud of our team and the excellent quality care they offer our patients and their families,” Dr Parr said.

“Our focus is on alleviating distress at the end of life and this tool helps us to ensure appropriate and timely responses to patient needs.”

The PCOC benchmarking process involves medical professionals scoring various aspects of patient’s wellbeing daily, and in the case of Murdoch Hospice, three times per day, to ascertain if treatment needs adjusting or team resources need reallocating. The scores assess the patient’s symptom, psychological and family and carer distress to determine any patterns.

PCOC then collates the data and benchmarks them against other inpatient hospice facilities of a similar size.

“This benchmarking system has enabled us to identify areas of patient care that needed attention so that we can deliver a service that focusses on the whole person – their physical, social, psychological and spiritual being, as well as their families.”

One of the areas in which the Hospice excelled was taking care of the needs of families and carers.

“If the family is coping well, then the patient tends to do better too,” Dr Parr said.

“There is evidence that demonstrates when families are supported appropriately during their loved one’s illness and death, they have better outcomes in bereavement too.”

The Hospice also scored well on how well their staff work together as a team.

“We have a strong multi-disciplinary approach to care in which our nurses, doctors and allied health professionals communicate often with each other and with the patient and their family to ensure that a patient-centred management plan is in place, addressing all aspects of need.”

“High quality clinical care, combined with counselling, social work, pastoral care and our Footprints Day Centre, which offers complementary therapies, diversional activities, relaxation, time out and someone to talk to, work towards giving our patients and their families the best possible experience during challenging times.”

“For some groups of patients, specialist palliative care intervention has been shown to improve prognosis for patients by as much as chemotherapy can too.”

The Murdoch Community Hospice is an integrated service that works closely with St John of God Murdoch Hospital to ensure the transition to hospice care is seamless. The team is planning to share its successful practices with other similar facilities.

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