Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach that strives to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing a life limiting illness. We focus on prevention and relief of suffering by treatment of pain, and other problems; physical, psychosocial and spiritual.
Palliative care can be applicable early in the course of an illness, while patients continue to have active treatments (chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery) aimed at both prolonging life and controlling symptoms.
The Royal Adelaide Hospital team (Central Adelaide Palliative Care Service) is part of an integrated palliative care service across the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) catchment area.
The Central Adelaide Palliative Care Service (CAPCS) provides:
- Inpatient and consultative services at the RAH (and TQEH and Mary Potter Hospice).
- Outpatient clinics across various sites: RAH, TQEH and the Western Hospital.
- Multidisciplinary Community Palliative Care Team, based at TQEH.
- Consultative services to private hospitals within the CALHN region.
- Specialist support to peri-urban and country services.
- Links to other metropolitan palliative services.
In each of these situations various services can be offered, including:
- Palliative care assessment and provision of service information, including information about care at the end of life.
- Symptom assessment and management.
- Psychosocial support for the patient and/or carer.
- Coordination of community based services to assist in the support and care of the patient in their home.
- Assistance to health professionals, patients and families in advanced care planning.
Eligibility for services
A person is eligible for referral to specialist palliative care services if:
- they have a progressive, life limiting illness
- they or their decision maker, is aware of, understands and has agreed to a palliative care referral
- the primary goals of patient care are to control symptoms, maximise function, maintain quality of life and provide comfort.
Palliative care services can be provided at any stage of disease including end-of-life care.
If the treating professional is uncertain of the eligibility of the patient, they can contact the palliative care service to discuss the referral with a member of the specialist palliative care team.
For urgent assistance, please phone Central Adelaide Palliative Care Services (CAPCS) directly on 8222 6825 (during office hours)
For after-hours advice, CAPCS has an on-call service with:
- a palliative care nurse available from 4.30pm to 10pm on weekdays, and 8am to 10pm on weekends and public holidays
- a palliative care registrar and consultant available 24 hours a day.
They can be contacted by calling the RAH switchboard (7074 0000) and asking for them to be paged.
Referrals can be made by medical practitioners, other health professionals and the individual, their family members or carer.
Referrals for people in the community (that is, home or residential care), or people requiring an outpatient clinic appointment, can be made by faxing a completed Palliative Care Referral form (PDF) to the local palliative care service.
Information required at time of referral:
- Please ensure that there has been a discussion with the patient and or relevant carer regarding the referral before the referral occurs.
- Please clearly state the reason for the referral, for example:
- Palliative care assessment
- Provision of service information
- End-of-life care
- Discussion of goals and treatment options
- Difficulty maintaining desired place of care.
- Please provide an alternative contact for the patient
- Please include diagnosis, important dates, copies of all reports, results and relevant letters
- Please include a current medication list.
New referrals will be processed in a timely manner during office hours.
For further information or enquiries, phone CAPCS on 8222 6825.
Please note: Patients in an acute setting/hospital are referred using local inpatient procedures.
Dr Alastair Bonnin
Director of Medical Services
Ms Karen Hales
Ms Lynn Berger