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Assistive technology in palliative care: a statewide equipment programme


Objectives This paper examines the impact of the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS) Palliative Care Equipment Programme (PCEP), a new initiative across Queensland, Australia, and explores the translational potential of this large scale, comprehensive, government funded programme to other jurisdictions.

Methods The five dimensions of the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance framework were retrospectively applied to MASS PCEP, with primary programme data compared with data from secondary sources.

Results Extensive Reach and Adoption of the programme was demonstrated, with 3695 unique clients accessing the programme from the 17 Queensland hospital and health services. Seventy-four per cent of clients had a cancer diagnosis. Operationalising Effectiveness, Implementation and Maintenance dimensions revealed many positive programme aspects at individual and organisational levels, as well as ongoing challenges including transporting equipment to rural and remote regions and the impact on the workforce to respond to referrals and prescribe assistive products. Programme participants had a shorter public hospital stay (4.5 days), compared with the Queensland palliative care average (7.1 days).

Conclusions The programme has high translational potential to other jurisdictions. Assistive equipment at the end stages of life may enhance well-being by extending time spent at home, increasing independence and reducing carer burden.

  • Rehabilitation
  • Home care
  • Cancer

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