A PILOT program delivering palliative care at home in the Bendigo region will become a permanent service with broader outreach.
The state government yesterday announced $250,000 a year for Bendigo Health to continue providing the service, which supports patients who nominate home as their preferred place of care and/or death.
About 110 people accessed palliative care at home during the 18 month trial.
The pilot was funded until July.
Bendigo Health integrated palliative care services manager Alison Smith the state government funding would boost staffing, with recruitment for four full-time equivalent roles underway.
It would also enable the program to expand its services beyond 30 kilometres from Bendigo, which was the parameter for the trial phase.
Bendigo Health's palliative care program is believed to be the only one of its kind in regional Victoria.
The health care group's chair, Bob Cameron said the program would be extended to the Greater Bendigo boundary and throughout the Southern Loddon Mallee region, in time.
Geographical service expansion was a long-term goal.
Mrs Smith said the program's pilot phase exceeded expectations.
Demand doubled during the first six months, and 90 per cent of patients accessing the service achieved their preferred place of care or death.
Mrs Smith said some people nominated home as their preferred place of death.
For others, it was simply their preferred place of care.
"Our evidence shows people who receive care in their own homes need less medication and experience less stress," Mrs Smith said.
Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards said the program enabled patients with complex needs to leave hospital for their final weeks and prevented unnecessary readmission.
"We know most people would wish to spend their final moments at home surrounded by loved ones," Ms Edwards said.
"Patients and families who are going through a traumatic experience deserve to have this comfort."
She said the funding was part of the government's broader commitment to regional and rural palliative care services.
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