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State-wide telephone support: enhanced palliative care service delivery
  1. Brian Le1,2,3,
  2. Evelien Rosens2,
  3. Esther McMillan-Drendel1,
  4. David Marco3,4,
  5. Theresa Williamson5 and
  6. Jennifer Philip1,2,3
  1. 1 Palliative Care, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Department of Palliative Care, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4 Centre for Palliative Care, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne Pty Ltd, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5 Victorian Department of Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brian Le, Palliative Care, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC 3050, Australia; Brian.Le{at}

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Palliative care maximises the quality of life for people with life-limiting disease and supports end of life care. It prevents or reduces suffering by providing effective pain management and relief from distressing symptoms. It also addresses needs of carers, family and friends during the patients’ illness and in case of bereavement.1

People receiving palliative care require fewer and shorter hospitalisations and less visits to emergency departments. Receiving palliative care at home reduces the need for hospital-based care, which can be associated with cost savings for the health system.1

The World Health Assembly stressed the need for countries to ensure access to palliative care for all patients in need by integrating palliative care into their healthcare systems.1 However, significant barriers to accessing palliative care remain, even in countries with high-resource systems in which palliative care services are at an advanced level of integration.1 2

In high-resource countries barriers to use of palliative care are usually not financial or structural, but may lie more in cultural, social and informational domains. Some examples of such barriers may include a lack of awareness of the need and purpose of palliative care, lack of knowledge of palliative care among healthcare …

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  • Contributors Conception and design of the service: BL, ER, EM-D, DM, TW, JP. Implementation and data collection: BL, ER, EM-D, DM, JP. Analysis and interpretation of results: BL, ER, EM-D, DM, JP. All authors contributed to and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.