25 May 2018

More than 450 health professionals across Australia have received dedicated palliative care training in the past six months under a pioneering education initiative led by Children’s Health Queensland.

The Quality of Care Collaborative Australia for Paediatric Palliative Care (QuoCCA) project, delivered in partnership with children’s hospitals across the country since 2014, aims to improve the quality of palliative care provided to children through research and educational initiatives.

Approximately 14,000 Australian children aged less than 15 years old currently live with a life-limiting condition.

Since securing a new $4million Federal Government National Palliative Care Project grant in October 2017, QuoCCA has delivered a total of 30 scheduled education sessions and 29 ‘pop-up’ sessions.

Queensland Children’s Hospital Paediatric Palliative Care Service Director and QuoCCA project lead, Dr Anthony Herbert, said there would be a major focus over the next three years on supporting regional, rural and remote hospitals and clinics who care for children with palliative care needs.

“This will see nurse educators employed nationwide, an allied health education team established and paediatric medical fellows employed to allow more paediatricians to receive training in children’s palliative care,” Dr Herbert said. ‘This will ensure more children and families can receive the care and support they need as close to their home as possible.”

“Online resources will also be developed, including web-based learning packages to make the training even easier to access.”

Dr Herbert said the unique and important palliative care needs of children and young people, and the health professionals who care for them, were better serviced under QuoCCA.

“There are many unique aspects to the care provided to a child with a life-limiting illness. For example, we work very closely with a child’s entire family – parents, siblings, grandparents – and, often, their broader community, including their schools.”

Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan praised the QuoCCA project for its achievements to date and its commitment to improving palliative care for children and their families.

“Every child deserves access to the best palliative and end-of-life care, whether that be in the hospital, in a hospice, or in their own home,” Ms Dougan said.

“QuoCCA’s education programs will give health professionals better skills and greater confidence to care for children with life-limiting conditions, which will in turn mean improved quality of care and quality of life for children and their families.”

For more information about QuoCCA, see www.caresearch.com.au/quocca/tabid/4509/Default.aspx