My Health Kit empowers palliative care patients

Patients undergoing palliative treatment and end-of-life care at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) are provided with a kit to support communications.
Removing the burden of her family needing to make decisions if she cannot speak for herself is one of the requests Tracy has included in her My Health Kit palliative care plan.


Introduced in June, the My Health Kit is an initiative which provides palliative care patients and their families with a portable single place to store important healthcare documents.


Keeping these documents together allows access for substitute decision-makers and other health professionals to safely share medical information across multiple services involved in a patients care.


Tracy, 50, was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and over the last six months has received care from the palliative care team attending a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic at TQEH.


The Palliative Care team has also visited Tracy in her at home, providing additional emotional support and helping with end-of-life planning, including ensuring that her advanced care directives are listed in her My Health Kit.


“The kit is the source of truth for what I want, if something should happen to me now, or when I pass,” said Tracy.


“While my family are conversational and know what my wishes are, the kit documents them and can be used as a reminder – especially in times of grief down the track,” said Tracy.

My Health Kit

In addition to the advanced care directives, Tracy’s kit contains her medical information, special care requests, order of preferred contact details in case of crisis.


As a mother of two and a wife, Tracy is using her precious time to experience items on her wish list with her loved ones – and her My Health Kit goes everywhere with her.


She recently returned from cage diving with three-metre great white sharks in Port Lincoln and played with hungry crocodiles in the Northern Territory.


For Tracy and her family, the My Health Kit provides more than care information, it provides peace of mind.


“It takes my anxiety away for right now, knowing tough decisions about my death won’t need to be made by my family – because they’ve already been made by me,” said Tracy.


The My Health Kit initiative has been led by Michaela, Senior Pharmacist within Central Adelaide Local Health Network’s Palliative Care Service who recognised the impact this simple resource could have for palliative care patients.


“Making My Health Kit accessible at the beginning of a serious illness was flagged by patients are as important in helping to guide end-of-life planning so wishes could be met, and relevant treatment is available when needed.


“By empowering patients to make choices about resuscitation, ICU admission and antibiotics at the beginning of care, it can reduce inappropriate hospital admissions or treatment through a clear understanding of the patient’s wishes if they cannot speak for themselves,” said Michaela.


The My Health Kit is based on a QLD Health initiative and was customised for use at CALHN following consumer and stakeholder feedback.


Based on feedback, changes to the kit included the addition of a ‘my wishes’ check list, important contact list, advanced care requests, medication list and changing care needs.


CAPCS provides care for 600 registered palliative care patients in private residences, aged care, disability residences, prison or people experiencing homelessness, and all have access to the My Health Kit. The kit is part funded by the Palliative Care Service Innovation fund.