Aged Care Standard 1 and Palliative Care
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  • Aged Care Standard 1 and palliative care

Consumer dignity and choice (Standard 1) is considered as the foundation of New Aged Care Standards. In this In Focus feature article, we discuss what this means in the context of palliative care for older people at the end of life and what are the resources that can help you and your aged care organisation.

 

Standard 1: Consumer Dignity and Choice

Standard 1 is the core for all the aged care standards. It recognises the person as able to choose and this includes decisions about how they live until their death. You can find out why consumer choice and person centred care matter in the Standards Summary: Dignity and Choice.

The palliative care context

The Aged Care Quality Standards describe the right of the consumer to dignity and respect and to make choices about the care and services they wish. 

There is a strong consumer movement towards people having more control over their end of life. For most people this includes wanting to stay in their home for as long as possible and to be able to die there, if possible. 

Care at the end of life needs us to recognise that death is foreseeable and to manage palliative care symptoms, concerns and needs with skill and with compassion.

Palliative care is a form of healthcare provided for people of any age who have a serious illness that cannot be cured. Palliative care is person centred care as highlighted in the Department of Health’s 2018 National Palliative Care Strategy (6.1MB pdf). 

It offers a support system to help people to live their life as fully and as comfortably as possible until death and to help families cope during this illness and in their bereavement. People are approaching the ‘end of life’ when they are likely to die within the next 12 months.

 

palliAGED resources for Standard 1

palliAGED resources can be used to support consumers, aged care staff and the service when considering how Standard 1 in the context of care at the end of life.

Understanding and acknowledging the person

We are all unique with different backgrounds and stories that make up our life. Learning more about different population groups within Australia can help you understand some of the different stories. This palliAGED infographic (390kb pdf) reminds us of how diverse older Australians are.

A person’s identity, beliefs and culture matter at the end of life too. There are Practice Tips Sheets on specific populations and needs for nurses and for careworkers (396kb pdf).

In the Evidence Centre find information and resources for diverse groups in the Specific Needs pages.

Helping aged care consumers understand their rights

Provide the person with a copy of the Charter of Aged Care Rights (739kb pdf) and Health Consumer Rights. These documents remind consumers and providers that a person needs to be treated with dignity and respect, to have their identity valued, and to be involved in decision about their care including care at the end of life.

Providing information on palliative care

Palliative care identifies and treats symptoms which can be physical, emotional, spiritual or social. Providing information on palliative care to the older person and their family can help them understand what is happening and to plan for end of life. There is information for famiies in the For the Community section of palliAGED. You can also order a copy of CareSearch’s Palliative Care Support booklet (1.01MB pdf) for your client or resident.

Advance Care Planning (ACP)

ACP is an important way that the person can share their wishes for care at the end of life. Supporting the person’s choices shows respect for their identity and autonomy. There are Practice Tips Sheet on ACP for nurses (347kb pdf) and for careworkers (413kb pdf). Aged care services can make sure that ACP documents are available when needed.

Spiritual Care

Recognising that you are going to die can raise questions about meaning. Spiritual care can be an important part of providing individual support and care to the person. There are Practice Tips Sheets on spiritual care for nurses (266kb pdf) and for careworkers (510kb pdf) as well Tip Sheets on Talking about Dying (411kb pdf).

Workforce Training

Accessing and promoting palliative care learning opportunities can help the workforce be confident in working with older people coming to the end of their life at home or in residential aged care. palliAGED provides expert advice on palliative care considerations in aged care.

 

"I am treated with dignity and respect and can maintain my identity.

I can make informed choices about my care and services, and the life I choose to live".

Consumer outcome statement for Aged Care Standard 1. Source: Aged care Quality and Safety Commission website www.agedcarequality.gov.au. The use of this image does not constitute an endorsement by the Aged care Quality and Safety Commission of palliAGED activities.

 

palliAGED Aged Care Standards insight August 2019 thumbnail

Screenshot of the infographic on the Diversity of Australia's Older population

Delivering person centred palliative care in aged care requires acknowledging the diversity of older Australians and addressing their specific needs.