Delivering National focused projects to improve palliative care education and training
WHO ARE WE?
Listen, Acknowledge, Respond (LAR) is a Commonwealth-funded collaboration between Charles Sturt University, Amaranth Foundation and integratedliving Australia. The project will provide specialist training for up to 800 health care professionals nationally; measure changes in confidence and skill levels of professionals who participate in training; measure the perception of care improvements for patients and their care givers; and analyse the costs of care delivered under the new model and compare these to traditional treatment pathways, providing an evidence-based rationale for continued Commonwealth funding.
Our hypothesis is that patient outcomes will improve and the overall cost of care for those living with an advanced chronic or terminal illness will decrease, or at least remain the same, if they receive screening and treatment for mental health issues.
There are four main elements of the project:
Materials have been developed to meet the training, education and supervision needs for a range of health care workers and health care professionals across the primary and acute health care sector, including Certificate IV Units of Competence, Professional Development Workshops and a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Chronic and Terminal Care offered by Charles Sturt University.
MEASURING THE CHANGE IN SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
The project will survey health care professionals to establish the baseline of existing skills and confidence in treating mental health concerns for palliative patients. Participants in the training courses will also be asked to complete a series of surveys to measure the change in knowledge and confidence, as well as the change in their practice 3, 6 and 12 months after they complete the training. Some training participants may also choose to participate in one hour interviews. In addition, the impact of this new model of care on patients and their caregivers will be measured via surveys and interviews with patients and their primary caregiver.
To facilitate greater depth of research, a number of trial sites will be established around the country. These sites will allow us to:
- test and refine the implementation of the model across different care settings;
- establish clear and effective referral pathways;
- collate de-identified results of diagnostic tools used by the mental health social worker when working with patients and their care givers;
- identify potential patients and their care givers to participate in the research, ranging from online or paper-based surveys to interviews and documenting out-of-pocket costs.
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF COSTS OF CARE
By following individual patient journeys, the project will collect information on the costs of care for patients receiving ‘enhanced care’ under the new model, as well as a control group of patients receiving standard care. This research will allow the examination of the effectiveness, from an economic and quality of life perspective, of this new model of care.