palliAGED - residential aged care
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Palliative approach offers peace of mind

A guest blog post by Mark Butler, Chaplaincy and Palliative Care Manager, Eldercare

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Implementing a palliative approach to care enables residential aged care facilities to support the quality of life, comfort and dignity for each of their resident from admission to death. Mark Butler from Eldercare discusses how their organisation implemented a palliative approach, and the benefits it brings to their residents and their families and multidisciplinary staff members.

Improving end-of-life care for residential aged care residents initiative

A guest blog post by Mia Taylen-Smith, Nurse Practitioner, Metro South Palliative Care

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Older people living in residential aged care facilities need to be provided high quality end-of-life care. This will often involve nurses who will help with advance care planning and implement a palliative approach to care. Mia Taylen-Smith of Metro South Palliative Care discusses how their Improving End-of-Life Care Residential Aged Care Residents Initiative aims to enable aged care nurses.

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?

From APRAC and COMPAC to palliAGED

A guest blog post from Dr Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch Director, Associate Professor, Discipline Palliative and Supportive Services

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One of the statements we commonly see in research reports and in policy and service documents is a comment about an ageing population. The reality of a demographic change where people are living longer than ever before has been instrumental in driving rethinking around issues such as retirement age, superannuation access, healthy lifestyles and supportive living environments. Living longer does not however mean living forever, and an ageing population means we also need to consider how we support older Australians as they approach death.
 

Caring doesn’t stop just because a person enters residential aged care

A guest blog post by Kay Richards, National Policy Manager and Rebecca Storen, Policy Officer, Leading Age Services Australia

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I often hear people say that once a person enters a residential aged care facility that the caring role provided by the person’s family and friends is no longer required, and yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. Aged care staff encourage family and friends to stay actively involved in a person’s life. There are many obvious reasons why this is so necessary.

Moving homes is generally a stressful and emotional time and, for residential aged care, this can be further exacerbated by the fact that it is often in response to a crisis. Someone’s mother has been admitted to hospital after a nasty fall or the care requirements of someone’s husband has increased because their diabetes isn’t being well managed. Therefore, not only are people having to make important decisions about where they, or their loved one, is going to live, but this is generally during a time when emotions are high and various members of the family may have different opinions.

 

PCACE Project: Developing and maintaining guidance for palliative care in aged care

A guest blog post from Dr Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch Director, Associate Professor, Discipline Palliative and Supportive Services

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The release of the Guidelines for a Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care (APRAC) and the Guidelines for a Palliative Approach for Aged Care in the Community Setting (COMPAC) were a significant advance in recognising and responding to changing population demography in Australia.  They aimed to support the provision of palliative care for older people living in the community or in residential aged care by identifying and evaluating the evidence for care to promote quality of life for older Australians who have a life-limiting illness or who are becoming progressively frailer during old age. The two sets of guidelines were important landmarks nationally and internationally. 
 

palliAGEDnurse app: Putting information in nurses’ hands

A Guest Blog Post from Dr Jennifer Tieman, CareSearch Director, Associate Professor, Discipline Palliative and Supportive Services

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There is no doubt that nurses are fundamental to health care. There are over 350,000 nurses currently practising in Australia. They are the largest single health profession in Australia. But more importantly, they are most often the face of care to the person needing care. And this is particularly important to remember when thinking about the care needs of an older person who may be the last stage of their life.

Many older people spend some or all of the last year of their life at home. Some will move to residential aged care or will already be in an aged care facility. Others will live with families or friends. Some may spend time in a hospital. Nearly all will be involved with a GP and with their Practice Nurses. So not only are nurses critical in enabling good care for older Australians coming to the end of their life, they will be providing this care in many different settings.
 

Life’s Journey’s Final Steps: Dying in a Residential Aged Care Facility (RAC)

A Guest Blog Post from Larissa B McIntyre, RN, FACN - Residential Manager, BaptistCare Orana Centre, Point Clare, NSW

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We all know that the population is ageing; and the figures forecasted are significant with around 15% (3.6 million people) older than 65 years in 2016 (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2013). These figures will continue to soar, and by 2031 it is estimated 19% (5.7 million) of the population will be older than 65 years (ABS, 2013).

In 2015 it was reported that 75% of people aged 65 and over who died in Australia used an aged care service in the 12 months before their death, and 60% were an aged care client at the time of their death (AIHW, 2015).  These figures alone point out the obvious key role the aged care sector plays in ensuring a person’s quality of life reaches its maximum potential as they approach the end of their lives, and inherent within that is the role aged care plays in ensuring a good death.

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