Linkages project

Connections in healthcare

The Decision Assist Palliative Care Linkages project is based on the premise that effective, mutually beneficial linkages between a number of agencies have a positive impact on client outcomes.

This national project enabled enhancement of linkages between service providers involved in the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care to older Australians.

The project team coordinated a large-scale project to promote linkages between palliative care services and aged care providers.

Each demonstration site included at least two organisations, one of which was funded to provide Australian Government home care or residential services, and one of which must provide dedicated palliative care services.

Pilot projects

Following a systematic literature review and a range of consultation activities, the Project Consortium identified a range of linkage strategies with the potential to improve the quality of end-of-life care for older people in residential and community settings.

As lead for the linkages component of the project, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) sought applications from eligible organisations for enabling grants to support projects that involve supporting the implementation of promising linkage strategies:

  • development of communication pathways and tools that support improved coordination and quality of end-of-life care between palliative care services and services in receipt of Commonwealth home care or residential aged care funding
  • establishment of formalised agreements between palliative care services and services in receipt of Commonwealth home care or residential aged care funding
  • development of multidisciplinary care approaches across palliative care services and services in receipt of Commonwealth home care or residential aged care services
  • establishment of new or enhancement of existing designated linkage roles across palliative care services and services in receipt of Commonwealth home care or residential aged care funding
  • implementation of continuous improvement processes that enable improved linkages across palliative care services and services in receipt of Commonwealth home care or residential aged care funding
  • implementation of other appropriate strategies that enable improved linkages across palliative care services and services in receipt of Commonwealth home care or residential aged care funding

Outcomes

  • increased access to palliative care for older people in residential aged care facilities and in the community
  • reduced unnecessary hospitalisations at end-of-life
  • reduced length of stay in hospital
  • increased confidence skills and knowledge for aged care staff
  • enhanced systems for care delivery
  • increased advance care planning
  • improved connections between service organisations
  • increased communication and palliative approach support

Opportunities

Ten new places are available nationally to undertake Decision Assist Linkages projects. The new projects have a completion date of November 2017.

Participation in a Decision Assist Linkages project includes opportunities for developing palliative care within an aged care context, developing linkages to specialist palliative care services for your organisation, or even working on identified gaps within existing, embedded palliative care delivery systems.

Organisations interested in participating must develop partnerships between at least one palliative care and one aged care organisation, and must have not previously undertaken a Decision Assist Linkages project.

Support

The Decision Assist Linkages team will be providing support including:

  • assistance with project development based on the seven strategies for effective linkage
  • ongoing coaching and facilitation
  • guidance with partnership engagement
  • project support and evaluation and linkage resources to achieve your goals
  • a large repository of clinical and organisational tools for implementation
  • evaluation to support continuous improvement


  • Case study

    Linkages project case studies

    Decision Assist

    This booklet provides a snapshot of these 20 demonstration sites – their goals, achievements, challenges, and plans for the future – as they undertook their Linkages project.

  • Publication (PDF)

    Promoting Service Linkages in Palliative and Aged Care

    Decision Assist

    This guidance document provides information and resources to support improved linkages between specialist palliative care services, general practitioners, and services in receipt of Commonwealth home care or residential aged care funding.

  • Video

    Decision Assist Linkages project overview

    Decision Assist

    A selection of videos available on the Decision Assist YouTube channel, providing an overview of the Linkages project, as well as a closer look at some of the outcomes and individual providers involved.