What's New in the Community


Palliative care hospitalisations rising  
New data has revealed that hospitalisations for palliative care are growing faster than all hospitalisations, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The figures also show that, before their death, a greater proportion of people are accessing palliative care services in hospital.

Principles for Palliative and End-of-Life Care in Residential Aged Care
New principles collaboratively developed by peak aged care and palliative care bodies could be used to guide care for older Australians and support their families and carers. The principles address recognising end-of-life: involving consumers in planning and decision making; timely access to care and care that is holistic and meets spirital and psychosocial needs; care that meets the needs of those with dementia and cognitive impairment;  dignity and respect; and bereavement support.   

Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA)
The new Advance Care Planning Australia website makes it easier to find best practice resources, education and training for advance care planning. There is also a new Decision Assist website.

WHPCA advocacy bulletin May 2017
The WHPCA is inviting consultation on their plans for the 70th World Health Assembly, and the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing. Please send any feedback to info@thewhpca.org.

Life expectancy and disability in Australia: expected years living with and without disability
AIHW report highlights that Australians are living longer, and notes that their state of health in these years has important implications for population health and wellbeing and for Australia's health and care systems.
  • Between 2003 and 2015, life expectancy at birth increased for both sexes, and most of this increase corresponded with an increase in years living free of disability and free of severe or profound core activity limitation.
  • Older Australians have also seen increases in the expected number of years living free of disability.
Older Australia at a glance 2017
The Older Australia at a Glance online compendium comprises an authoritative reference source of information and key statistics on topics and issues that affect older Australians. The 2017 release includes snapshots relating to: 
  1.  Burden of disease
  2.  Diabetes
  3.  Oral health and disease
  4.  Biomedical risk factors
  5.  Dental service use
  6.  Aged care assessments

NICE Quality Standard (Draft): End of life care for infants, children and young people
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has developed a draft standard relating to  end of life care for children. Following consultation the final quality standards will be released in October 2017.

Caring for people with intellectual disability who are dying
Researchers from Western Sydney University, Sydney University and HammondCare are looking at Australian palliative care team experiences with people with intellectual disability who are dying.They are seeking physicians, nurses, social workers or pastoral care workers working in a NSW multidisciplinary specialist palliative care team who have cared for, or anticipate that you might one day care for, a person with intellectual disability who is dying for phone interviews.For more information, please contact Michele Wiese: m.wiese@westernsydney.edu.au telephone (02) 4736 0067

National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data (NOPSAD) collection 2016
On a snapshot day in 2016, almost 34,000 clients across 6 states received pharmacotherapy treatment for their opioid dependence at 2,011 dosing points. The median age of clients was 42 years.
  • As with previous years, methadone was the most common pharmacotherapy drug, with around two-thirds (66%) of clients treated with this drug.
  • Across the jurisdictions that reported data, there were 1,472 authorised prescribers of opioid pharmacotherapy drugs.
  • Data for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were unavailable at the time of release. The report and associated tables will be updated when these data become available.
Specialist palliative care resources to help patient care in Western Australia
The WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network, Department of Health Western Australia, has developed referral and admission resources (external site) to help GPs source the best care for their patients who require access to specialist palliative care. Service summaries (external site) have also been developed by each of the fifteen Perth metropolitan specialist palliative care services and the seven regional specialist palliative care teams

New online resources to assist planning ahead for people with dementia
New planning ahead and advance care planning resources are now available online to assist community, aged and health care staff to highlight the importance of planning ahead for people in their care, particularly those in the early stages of dementia. The resources, funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre (CDPC) are hosted on the Alzheimer’s Australia website and CDPC websites

New advance care planning learning modules for health professionals and care workers
Decision Assist and Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) have a brand new integrated online learning space with up-to-date resources and training tools to support best practice in advance care planning.

National CALD Ageing and Aged Care Strategy Review Submission
Comments are now being sought on the Review of the CALD Strategy and the development of the Diversity Framework.The CALD Strategy is going to be replaced by a broader Aged Care Diversity Framework aimed to build on existing efforts to provide guidance for providers to embed better practice in their service delivery to better meet the diverse needs of older people.Under the Diversity Framework, an action plan for CALD consumers will be developed. Submissions close 12 May 2017

New Code of Ethics for Doctors
The AMA has released its new Code of Ethics, which, for the first time since 2006, has been substantially revised. Its Code articulates and promotes a body of ethical principles to guide doctors' conduct in their relationships with patients, colleagues, and society.

The Australia and New Zealand Pulmonary Rehabilitation Guidelines
Pulmonary rehabilitation is considered a key component of the management of people with COPD and has been shown to reduce symptoms of breathlessness and fatigue, improve health-related quality of life, and may reduce hospital readmissions after an exacerbation.The Australian and New Zealand Pulmonary Rehabilitation Guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations for the practice of pulmonary rehabiliatation specific to Australian and New Zealand healthcare contexts.

New resources to help Indigenous Australians broach end of life discussions
A discussion starter about end of life care, specifically developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, was launched at Parliament House by the Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt.The Dying toTalk resources include a culturally appropriate step-by-step guide to make those difficult discussions about death that bit easier and a set of cards that can be used as a tool to start the conversations.

NSW Bereavement Counselling Services
The NSW Bereavement Counselling Services Directory for 2017 is now available online. This comprehensive resource provides details of the grief and bereavement services available across Sydney, the Central Coast and the Southern Highlands. It has now been uploaded to the Palliative Care Bridge under Written Resources.

Hospital care for patients aged 85 and over, 2014–15
This spotlight report looks at the admitted patient care provided for the oldest of patients in Australian hospitals in 2014–15. It presents information on the amount of activity there was for patients aged 85 years and over and how this has changed over time.

Better Indigenous Palliative Care
On National Close the Gap Day, Palliative Care Australia has highlighted the need for more work to improve Indigenous palliative care including better rural and remote access to palliative care. Culturally safe palliative and end-of-life care was also seen as an important step.

Deaths in Australian hospitals 2014-15
This report examines admitted patient care provided to those patients whose place of death was in an Australian hospital during 2014-15, noting just under half (76,856) of all deaths in Australia (153,580 in 2014) occurred in a hospital as admitted patients.

My Life, My Lead
The Department of Health is inviting submissions from organisations and individuals on the social and cultural determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Submissions will contirbute to the blueprint on the Social and Cultural Determinants of Indigenous Health, Comments need to be submitteed by 30 April 2017.

Single Aged Care Quality Framework - Draft Aged Care Quality Standards
The Australian Government is seeking responses to a consultation paper with a draft set of aged care standards and rationale. The Consultation Paper is your opportunity to contribute to, and directly influence, the reforms and the quality of aged care in Australia. The consultation closes 21 April 2017.

Single Aged Care Quality Framework - Options for assessing performance against aged care quality standards
The Options Paper for assessing service provider performance against the draft aged care quality standards details three proposed options:
  • An assessment process based on aged care setting with different approaches used for residential settings and home/community settings (based on the status quo with improvements)
  • Introducing a single risk based assessment process that is applicable to all aged care settings
  • Use of a safety and quality declaration by organisations providing low risk services readily available to the broader population.
Feedback and comments will help  identify the preferred approach.This consultation closes on Friday 21 April 2017.

Commercially grown cannabis
The first licence for an Australian company to grow and harvest medicinal cannabis has been granted. This major development will lead to improved access to domestically produced medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients.

National Palliative Care Week 2017
Palliative Care Australia has announced that the theme for this year’s week will be ‘You matter, your care matters. Palliative care can make a difference’ and will focus on residential and community aged care.

$5 million community-based palliative care equipment and infrastructure grants
A new $5 million fund aims to support community palliative care agencies to support more Victorians with life-limiting illnesses to be cared for and die in their place of choice. The one-off fund will provide grants up to a maximum of $50,000 for equipment and infrastructure that supports nurses and other direct care staff to provide care in people’s homes. Applications close 5:00pm, Thursday 13 April 2017.

Post Doctoral Research Fellows UTS Health
UTS is  looking for 2 x Postdoctoral Research Fellows to work under the supervision of the Professor of Nursing Aged Care (Dementia). As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, you will use experience and knowledge of Health Services to conduct and manage research in aged care or dementia.

Increasing Choice in Home Care
This major aged care reform gives consumers more choice in home care services – such as personal care, nursing and social support – to suit their individual needs. It aims to improve the way services are delivered to older people in their homes.

Specialist Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning Advisory Services Grant Opportunity
The Department of Health is seeking applications for grant funding to provide innovative models of delivering the Advisory Services. The objective is to coordinate and deliver innovative models of specialist palliative care and advance care planning advisory services in all jurisdictions. Applications close 2:00 pm Canberra time on Tuesday 4 April 2017

Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia: 2016-2056
This NATSEM report updates the Access Economics 2002 estimate to 2016 and also projects likely future costs of dementia over the next 40 years. The report  provides an overview of dementia in Australia, including increases in the prevalence and incidence of dementia over the next 40 years, describes some of the social and economic characteristics of people with dementia, and identifies the impact of dementia on mortality and burden of disease.

Living Well with Metastatic Breast Cancer 
Palliative Care Australia and Breast Cancer Network Australia have developed an online tool to empower people living with metastatic breast cancer to make informed care choices, based on an accurate understanding of palliative care and its benefits.  The tool asks a short series of questions to enable it to respond according to their needs

Closing the Gap Prime Minster's report 2017
The latest Close the Gap report shows Indigenous mortality rate from cancer is rising and that many indicators have not been achieved. 

Job Opportunity: Research Fellow at CPC (Melbourne)
An opportunity currently exists for an experienced Research Fellow to join The Centre for Palliative Care (CPC) team on a Full Time, Fixed Term basis until March 2019. Applications must be receuived by 21 February 2017

Deaths web pages
This AIHW web update presents updated data on deaths, causes of death and life expectancy in Australia. There were 153,580 deaths registered in Australia in 2014.Two-thirds (66%) of deaths were among people aged over 75 years.

Cancer in Australia 2017
This AIHW report presents the latest available information on national population screening programs, Medicare data, cancer incidence, hospitalisations, survival, prevalence, mortality and burden of disease.

PCA Conference 2017: Connection with Community
Abstract submissions and registrations for the 2017 Australian Palliative Care Conference will open on Monday 6 February. The theme of the conference is Connection with Community. This theme challenges us to examine how we connect, who we connect with and how effectively our connections can strengthen and build a community of practice and care within palliative care. More details on the abstract submission process are availble at the conference website.

International survey of carers of  people with heart failure
Carers Australia is involved in a four nation study of carers of people with heart failure being conducted by the Internaitonal Alliance of Carer Organisations. The study aims to determine the impact on family and friend carers and better targeted related support services. Carers of persons with heart failure are invited to complete the survey until 28 February 2017.

New Health Minister
Greg Hunt will become the Minister for Health and Minister for Sport.Senator Arthur Sinodinos will take over as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.Ken Wyatt, who has been the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, will become the Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health. As senior minister, Mr Hunt will  represent the Aged Care sector in Cabinet. Dr. David Gillespie will serve in the portfolio as Assistant Minister for Health.

essential elements for safe and high-quality paediatric end-of-life care
The National consensus statement:essential elements for safe and high-quality paediatric end-of-life care describes the elements that are essential for delivering safe and high-quality endof-life care to children in acute care settings in Australia.

Queenslanders needed for study into law at end of life
Queenslanders are being urged to take part in an Australian-first study to better understand community engagement with law at the end of life.The study, led by QUT and CCQ, is the first attempt to assess whether Australians understand and/or act upon their legal right to participate in decisions about medical treatment for themselves, or for their loved ones at the end of life.  Queenslanders can find out more by contacting Dr Rachel Feeney at QUT on 3365 2505, or rachel.feeney@qut.edu.au.

This page was last updated 23 May 2017