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This section will keep you up to date with news in the palliative care sector. Please note that the links below were current at the time of posting, however links may become obsolete as websites update their content.
Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) laws came into effect in New South Wales on 28 November 2023. This means VAD is now legal in all Australian States. The ELDAC End of Life Law Toolkit contains free resources to help you understand Australian VAD laws, and your rights and obligations in the context of aged care and home care.
Residential aged care providers need to continue to be ready to prevent and prepare for COVID-19 outbreaks, including:
The Department of health and Aged Care funds a range of organisations to give free palliative care education and training programs for health and aged care workers. You can find a program or course that suits your learning needs on the Department’s web page or in their brochure summarising learning options.
IPEPA is a grassroots approach to breaking down the barriers to palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. These ten short animations support open conversations about death, dying and palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
MyMedicare is a new voluntary patient registration model. It aims to formalise the relationship between patients, their general practice, general practitioner and primary care teams. Evidence shows that seeing the same GP and healthcare team regularly leads to better health outcomes. Seeing a GP regularly and formalising the relationship you have with your GP and general practice through MyMedicare may lead to better health outcomes. This may be particularly helpful for older people. Registering with MyMedicare provides benefits to patients, general practices, and healthcare providers. To learn about these benefits, see:
A new report from the Office of the Interim Inspector-General of Aged Care provides an overview of progress to date in implementing Royal Commission recommendations. Under Recommendation 80 (dementia and palliative care training), the report states that dementia-specific and palliative care training is currently being delivered to GPs and aged care workers, with additional dementia care training under development and scheduled for roll out late 2023. A decision on mandating training is being considered in the context of strengthened Aged Care Quality Standards currently being piloted by the ACQSC (Recommendation 19).
Palliative Care Connect is a statewide service that provides information and links to palliative care and bereavement supports in South Australia. An information line is available for people with life-limiting illnesses and their family members, friends, and carers, as well as healthcare professionals.
Palliative Care Navigators, available through the information line, provide information, service linkages, and empower individuals to make choices aligned with their culture and preferences. They also support general practitioners and other healthcare professions, including those who work in aged care services, to organise and link people to appropriate palliative care, supports or services.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has released an updated version of the Aged Care Reform Roadmap – 2022 to 2025. This roadmap can be downloaded to provide a point-in-time overview of major reform activities and their associated key dates.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has released important information on a change to the palliative care entry process for residential aged care. From 1 October 2023, approved providers have 14 days from the date of a resident’s permanent (non-respite) entry into residential aged care to ensure the resident has undergone a medical assessment by an independent medical or nurse practitioner confirming their palliative care status. Providers must also use the Services Australia Aged Care Provider Portal to notify Services Australia of a resident’s entry for palliative care within 28 days of the resident’s entry to the service.
For more information see the updated Palliative Care Status Form.
Dementia is a significant and growing health and aged care issue in Australia. It has a substantial impact on the health and quality of life of people with the condition, as well as for their family and friends. This online report provides a comprehensive picture of dementia in Australia, including the latest statistics on dementia prevalence, deaths, expenditure, as well as the use of health and aged care services among people with dementia. The report also includes information on carers of people with dementia and their unmet needs.