Case conferencing for palliative care patients - A survey of South Australian general practitioners

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Primary Health, 2017, 23 (5), pp. 458 - 463
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© La Trobe University 2017. 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 2years. 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.
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