Enhancing family physician capacity to deliver quality palliative home care: an end-of-life, shared-care model.
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PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: Family physicians face innumerable challenges to delivering quality palliative home care to meet the complex needs of end-of-life patients and their families. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: To implement a model of shared care to enhance family physicians' ability to deliver quality palliative home care, particularly in a community-based setting. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Family physicians in 3 group practices (N = 21) in Ontario's Niagara West region collaborated with an interprofessional palliative care team(including a palliative care advanced practice nurse, a palliative medicine physician, a bereavement counselor, a psychosocial-spiritual advisor, and a case manager) in a shared-care partnership to provide comprehensive palliative home care. Key features of the program included systematic and timely identification of end-of-life patients, needs assessments, symptom and psychosocial support interventions, regular communication between team members, and coordinated care guided by outcome-based assessment in the home. In addition, educational initiatives were provided to enhance family physicians' knowledge and skills. CONCLUSION: Because of the program, participants reported improved communication, effective interprofessional collaboration, and the capacity to deliver palliative home care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to end-of-life patients in the community.
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