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The Western Australian Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care

Research programs at the Western Australian Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care (WACCPC) span both the cycle of life (birth to aged care) and the cycle of healthcare (primary, acute, and palliative care). Research projects are initiated by clinical practice and key service agencies. The expertise of researchers covers all aspects of the chronic disease and cancer journey - including the consumer perspective - from prevention, screening and early detection to diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. The WACCPC aims to improve health outcomes at a State, national and international level by fostering collaboration between researchers, building capacity and enabling the development of a series of pre-trial studies that will lead to large-scale, multi-site studies.

Current projects include:

A Retrospective Cohort Pilot Study of Intensity of Care, Medical Decision-Making, and Costs in an Acute Care Hospital in Western Australia

The goal of this pilot project is to conduct an initial examination of non-palliative, end-of-life care and medical decision-making for a cohort of deceased patents in one tertiary hospital in Western Australia. The specific research aims of this project are firstly, to evaluate the patterns, intensity and use of healthcare resources at the end of life during the patent's last hospitalization, and secondly, to identify the associated health-care costs of this care using WA hospital cost data.

Evaluation Plan Development for the CoNeCT Program; part of the WA Aged Care Directorate FINE Scheme - Friends in Need Emergency (FINE)

The FINE scheme is an initiative that links the public health and community sectors and the Government of Western Australia. The initiative aims to improve access to health care for older people and people with chronic conditions who could be cared for in their home rather than being admitted to hospital. This framework is targeting the metropolitan complex care co-ordination service - known as the Complex Needs Co-ordination Team (CoNeCT). An evaluation design and framework will be developed to assess the degree to which the CoNeCT program meets the goals of the FINE scheme.

Investigating the Impact of an End-Of-Life Pathway on End-of-Life Care and Costs in an Urban Acute Care Hospital

The aims of this study are to describe the patterns of care intensity and the associated health costs before and after implementing a clinical end-of-life care guideline (which is designed to improve care at the end of life). The project involves describing the patterns and intensity of end-of-life care provided to patents, identifying the associated health care costs of care delivered before and after the implementation of the guideline, and obtaining health care professional and family reports of quality and satisfaction with end-of-life care. This will help assess hospital, health professional and patent and family factors that may influence the amount and intensity of end-of-life care.

Recently completed projects include developing baseline information concerning the quality of care being delivered to end-of-life patents in Western Australia. This project examined the feasibility of administering a patent-based questionnaire at Royal Perth Hospital and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to terminally ill patents.

Other projects have sought to quantify the incidence and prevalence of cancer in the frail elderly population and developed education materials in conjunction with health authorities to assist health care providers (primarily GPs) to prepare for legislative changes.

Key ECU Staff

Professor Anne Wilkinson, Joanne Hale.

Engagement Partners

WACCPC Curtin University Site, Cancer and Palliative Care Research & Evaluation Unit, WA Health Department, Cancer and Palliative Care Network, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital, Fremantle Hospital.

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