Virtual Palliative Care for Organizations: Content
About Virtual Palliative Care
With 40 per cent more deaths each year by 2020, there is an increased demand for palliative care. Most palliative care patients are admitted to or die in hospital in their last 30 days of life. Virtual care strategies can help reduce the burden on hospitals, improve the patient experience and provide additional support for caregivers. They enable patient-driven care by monitoring symptoms from home, increasing access to resources for patients and families, and improving efficiency by reducing travel requirements for acute care.
OTN is available to work with different palliative care teams across Ontario to improve the patient experience.
Benefits of Virtual Palliative Care
Evidence suggests that team-based care with direct patient contact increases patient satisfaction and the likelihood of dying at home, while decreasing emergency department visits and hospital admissions. Studies also show virtual care options are effective in monitoring patient symptoms.
Both Health Quality Ontario Palliative Care Standards and Ontario Palliative Care Network Health Service Delivery Framework recommend virtual care as an option to improve the care of patients with life-limiting illnesses.
How does it work?
Many patients would benefit from a Virtual Palliative Care program that is:
- Personalized: The virtual care program aims to make receiving care and managing symptoms at a preferred location, such as home, as simple as possible by enabling patient-driven care through mobile powered virtual care.
- Home possible: Remote home monitoring means less time spent travelling to appointments, reduced unnecessary transfer to acute care/hospitals, and less unplanned emergency room visits.
- Interactive: Health assessments that focus on symptoms and quality of life are sent to the palliative care team in real time to better manage outcomes.
- Monitored: A palliative care team member can help monitor patient conditions at a distance; if any readings suggest a change, they will contact the patient to identify the problem, find a solution, and connect others on the care team.
Who is Virtual Palliative Care for?
Virtual palliative care protocols are designed to support a wide continuum of care needs of patients who would benefit from a home-based approach to care. The program is appropriate for patients:
- with a life-limiting diagnosis,
- who are willing to accept a palliative approach to care,
- who are willing and able to operate technology solutions from their home with support.
OTN can help health care organizations design and implement solution agnostic virtual palliative care. We have developed a Virtual Palliative Care protocol, and a Virtual Palliative Care Toolkit, and are available to support planning, implementation and evaluation.
We are here to work with palliative care teams to identify needs and implement the program into their specific environment.