New UQ service helps support children with life limiting conditions in their own home

The Raelene Boyle Outreach Program has been established by UQ’s Centre for Online Health (COH) with the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Paediatric Palliative Care Service (PPCS). The PPCS supports families during the difficult period of caring for a child with a potentially incurable condition such as cancer.

Web cameras and broadband telecommunication are used to hold video linkups between the hospital and patients’ homes.

The Raelene Boyle Outreach Program is funded through the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, thanks to $315,000 over three years from The Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation.

As a cancer survivor, Ms Boyle said she experience of the difficulties of attending hospital for regular treatments.

“I know how difficult it is moving from place to place for treatment. So for this service to be available when parents are going through a horrible time is, I’m sure, a major benefit to them and their sick children,” she said.

Paediatric Palliative Care Service Consultant, Dr Anthony Herbert said the outreach program provided significant benefits.

“I have been amazed at how much the web cam links can improve the care we provide to children living in both Brisbane and outside of Brisbane,” he said.

“It helps from a continuity of care perspective for the children’s primary doctors and healthcare team at the hospital to continue contact with the families if the child no longer needs to or is able to visit the hospital. This is particularly helpful for families who live outside of Brisbane.

“The links also improve collaboration, potentially allowing the local paediatric team, specialist palliative care service, general practitioner, community nurses and allied health staff to participate in planning care in partnership with the child and their family,” Dr Herbert said.

The Centre for Online Health is a world leader in the delivery of telemedicine and research into best practice models. The service continues to grow with almost 10,000 virtual consultations facilitated between patients and their doctors, from 37 different specialties, including diabetes, endocrinology, burns, cardiology, dermatology, oncology, orthopaedics, gastroenterology, neurology and paediatric surgery.

Media: Faculty Communications Officer, Marlene McKendry (0401 99 6847).