Palliative Care Afterhours: A Review of a Phone Support Service

Centre for Online Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.9). 05/2012; 29(3):141-50. DOI: 10.1177/1043454212446023
Source: PubMed


Families caring for a child with incurable cancer require access to support and advice round the clock. In Brisbane, Australia, an after-hours phone service was established to support these families. This service is operated by oncology clinical nurse consultants (CNCs) experienced in pediatric palliative care. This is the first review of 8 years of activity, totaling 106 patients and 1954 calls. The majority of calls were between parents and CNCs (51%). Updating of the patient's condition (18%) was the primary reason for calls, with support and reassurance (16%), and symptom management of pain (10%) being the other frequent reasons. The majority of calls occurred over the weekends in the morning, with only 11% (n = 209) of calls occurring between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am. Of all the calls made, 43% (n = 814) were calls managed by the CNC without requiring further intervention. Calls were received from throughout Queensland, indicating the value of the service in supporting families throughout the state. The after-hours phone service has proven to be a simple, effective, and valuable service, which is consistently accessed by families, regardless of distance from the hospital.

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