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Case Conferences

What we know

Effective and consistent communication is an important component of palliative care. A family meeting or case conference can assist with communication between patient, key family members, substitute decision-makers and the care team. It can be used to plan care and make decisions relating to end-of-life in accordance with a person’s preferences. The existing evidence is scant but has shown positive results particularly in the care of people with dementia.

What can I do?

When reviewing care needs of residents or clients, consider whether there are any indications of the need for a case conference.

Ensure that a case conference is well prepared and well facilitated, is accurately documented, that care plans are updated accordingly, and all relevant people are informed of the outcomes.

Ensure that the changes to care are reviewed and evaluated.

Make use of: GPs participating in the GP Palliative Shared Care Program can use the Case Conference Record and Care Plan Template.

 

What can I learn?

In the PA Toolkit, check out the: Refer to the Multidisciplinary Case Conferences information provided by the Department of Health

Check out the MBS items for Case Conferencing in in a Residential Aged Care Facility or a community case conference or a discharge case conference which either include a GP or are lead by a GP

Learn about how facilitated case conferencing can support the care of people with dementia and their carers.

Read the Family meetings in palliative care: multidisciplinary clinical practice guidelines (2008) (258kb pdf) and use the included resources.

 

What can my organisation do?

Support staff to develop high-level communication skills and the ability to successfully conduct case conferences.

Provide staff with tools to facilitate and document case conferences.

Ensure that residents and clients, their family and substitute decision-maker(s) have information to understand the objectives and benefits of case conferences and, when one is arranged, that they know how to prepare for a case conference.

The following (where appropriate) can be incorporated into practice as useful prompts to arrange and conduct a case conference:
  • admission to residential aged care facility (RACF)
  • return to RACF following discharge from hospital
  • increase in falls
  • change in clinical status
  • new/worsening symptoms
  • poor appetite or skin integrity
  • annual management review plan
  • receipt of a complaint
  • family disagreement about care
  • family distress
Consider creating partnerships with researchers to improve the evidence base and strengthen the understanding of how case conferences can benefit older people receiving palliative care and the validation of tools which assist the conduct of case conferences.
Page updated 23 October 2017