Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Case conferencing for palliative care patients – a survey of South Australian general practitioners

Timothy H. M. To A B H , Paul Tait A C , Deidre D. Morgan C , Jennifer J. Tieman C , Gregory Crawford D E , Alexandra Michelmore F , David C. Currow G and Kate Swetenham A C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Southern Adelaide Palliative Services, Department of Rehabilitation, Aged Care and Palliative Care, Repatriation General Hospital, Daws Road, Daw Park, SA 5041, Australia.

B Discipline of Medicine, College of Medicine & Public Health, Flinders University, Sturt Road, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia.

C Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Sturt Road, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia.

D Discipline of Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

E Northern Adelaide Palliative Care Service, Modbury Hospital, Smart Road, Modbury SA 5092, Australia.

F Clinical Planning Division, Palliative Care Clinical Network, Adelaide, SA 0000, Australia.

G ImPaCCT (Improving Palliative Care through Clinical Trials and Research), Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia.

H Corresponding author. Email: timothy.to@sa.gov.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(5) 458-463 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16001
Submitted: 7 January 2016  Accepted: 15 June 2017   Published: 26 September 2017

Abstract

Benefits of case conferencing for people with palliative care needs between a general practitioner, the person and other key participants include improving communication, advance care planning, coordination of care, clarifying goals of care and support for patient, families and carers. Despite a growing evidence base for the benefits, the uptake of case conferencing has been limited in South Australia. The aim of this study is to explore the beliefs and practice of South Australian general practitioners towards case conferencing for people with palliative care needs. Using an online survey, participants were asked about demographics, attitudes towards case conferencing and details about their most recent case conference for a person with palliative care needs. Responses were received from 134 general practitioners (response rate 11%). In total, 80% valued case conferencing for people with palliative care needs; however, <25% had been involved in case conferencing in the previous 2 years. The major barrier was time to organise and coordinate case conferences. Enablers included general practitioner willingness or interest, strong relationship with patient, specialist palliative care involvement and assistance with organisation. Despite GPs’ beliefs of the benefits of case conferencing, the barriers remain significant. Enabling case conferencing will require support for organisation of case conferences and review of Medicare Benefits Schedule criteria for reimbursement.

Additional keywords: case conference, family meeting, patient care team, primary health care.


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