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Time to prioritise research on palliative care, death and dying

A guest blog post from Professor Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch Director, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University

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As our population ages and patterns of disease change, there is an increasing demand for palliative care and the need for greater community awareness about death and dying. Research is crucial in achieving these aims. In this blog, Professor Jennifer Tieman discusses why and how the new Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying will contribute towards these aims.

Why quality in palliative care guidance for aged care matters

A blog post from Professor Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch Director, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University

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Given the pressures on the aged care system and the reform agenda currently in play, there is a continuing need to ensure that current evidence and resources are available to guide care provision for older Australians as they approach the end of their life. Professor Jennifer Tieman from CareSearch highlights that the palliAGED website provides the latest evidence and resources for palliative care in aged care and discusses how it does guidance differently.

Taking time to talk

A blog post from Professor Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch Director, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University

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National Advance Care Planning Week is an annual initiative by Advance Care Planning Australia that encourages all Australians, regardless of their age or health status, to make their future health care preferences known. Jennifer Tieman Director of CareSearch discusses the importance of advance care planning and the need to start more conversations about death and dying.

palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets: responding to need

A guest blog post by Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht, Senior Research Fellow, Professor Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch Director and Susan Gravier, Research Associate, CareSearch, Flinders University

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Across residential and home-based aged care at least 70% of direct care (“hands on” care) is provided by careworkers. Many of the people they care for could benefit from palliative care. To support current and future careworkers to understand and build capacity in palliative care, palliAGED managed by CareSearch, have launched an entry-point collection of evidence-based learning resources: palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets for Careworkers in aged care. Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht, Professor Jennifer Tieman and Susan Gravier from CareSearch discuss this new freely-available palliAGED resource and how it is responding to the need for sector support while aged care issues are part of the conversation.

Understanding palliative care and why it matters

A blog post by Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht, Senior Research Fellow, CareSearch, Flinders University

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Palliative care is increasingly mentioned in mainstream and professional media releases and reports, particularly those related to aged care and cancer, but it is often misrepresented or mentioned only in passing. Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht from CareSearch explains what palliative care is and why it matters from a researcher perspective.

Why evidence matters at the end-of-life and why it’s everyone’s business

A guest blog post by Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht, Senior Research Fellow, CareSearch, Flinders University

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In health care the role of evidence in decision making is recognised by health care practitioners and providers, and relates to understanding the balance between the potential benefits and harms of any practice, treatment or intervention. Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht of CareSearch discusses the importance of independent, critical appraisal and synthesis of evidence into reliable, practical guidance for recipients and providers of care.

Centre of Research Excellence in End-of-Life Care (CRE-ELC)

A guest blog post by Professor Patsy Yates, Centre Director, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in End-of-life Care, Head, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology; Director, Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education

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The pattern of disease, dying and death has changed dramatically in Australia over the last century. In Australia alone almost 160,000 people die every year. Of these at least 120,000 are expected deaths, meaning that access to palliative care could be of great benefit to both the individuals and their families. But ensuring access to quality palliative care for all who need it is not without its challenges. This is why a group of researchers sought funding from National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for the Centre of Research Excellence in End-of-Life Care (CRE-ELC).

Preparing for the future by learning from the present

A guest blog post by Robyn McLean, RNR, Residential Aged Care Manager

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In my role managing two aged care homes in Melbourne, I have come across a number of challenges which needed to be overcome. I took over one home four and a half years ago and the second 18 months ago, discovering the same basic issues in each home; after the first time, the issues were relatively easy to change. Staff were fractured in the sense that departments did not necessarily rely on each other and work together, and knowledge of clinical issues was only handed over to clinical staff, not to the whole home (not an unusual happening). My idea of sharing with all staff was greeted with a degree of scepticism at first, but staff embraced it quite quickly and then started to discuss things across different departments.

Aged care and palliative care: what’s the difference?

A guest blog post by Associate Professor Rosalie Hudson, Consultant educator palliative aged care, dementia care

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For this discussion, aged care refers to the additional care required for an older person needing regular health professional input either in the community or in an aged care home.

Palliative care is, according to the WHO (World Health Organisation), ‘an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual’.

Policy is ‘many headed’ and is important in aged care

A guest blog post by Liz Callaghan, CEO of Palliative Care Australia

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Many people spend the last stages of their lives in aged care, and for that reason Palliative Care Australia believes that end-of-life care should be recognised as core business for residential aged care.  Increasingly, aged care providers are recognising the need to ensure their workforce have the necessary skills and competencies to deliver high quality end-of-life care. Yet in spite of this recognition, access to quality palliative care services is far from guaranteed in residential aged care – particularly in rural and remote areas.  
We all want the ‘best death possible’ for our loved ones and ourselves as we enter old age. So we need to ask ourselves, what are the barriers to accessing care that can support this, and will looking at the issue from a population or needs-based policy perspective help to ensure end-of-life care becomes core business for all aged care providers?
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