The parable of the Good Samaritan is widely recognised as the original founding story of healthcare systems in the Western world. The traveller is stripped of clothing, beaten and left half dead alongside the road.
A Samaritan came near the man who was beaten, and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion.
A compassion that saw the Samaritan tend to him, transport him to shelter and provide for his future care needs. For a man who had been left half dead.
The Samaritan, it seems, was an early palliative care physician. He sought to relieve suffering, treat pain and address other problems - physical, psychosocial and spiritual.
Whilst increasingly today there is strong recognition of the value of good palliative care, unfortunately not many Australians understand that palliative care is an approach for how to live with a life-limiting illness until death, rather than being an approach for how to die.
To ensure equitable access to palliative care is a fundamental human right, increased support of our aged care workforce in Australia is essential to equip them with palliative care knowledge and resources.
ELDAC does just that.
There has never been a better time to support the skilled, compassionate and dedicated workers in aged care than now. As the baby-boomer generation ages, a significant growth in service provision and expenditure will be required. By 2055, Australia’s population aged 65 – 84 will more than double to reach 7 million people, while our population aged 85 and over will grow by 1.5 million to 2 million people.
As Australia’s largest non-government provider grouping of health and aged care services, providing care to all those who seek it, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) and Catholic service providers have a vital interest in ensuring the sustainable provision of aged care services that meet community expectations for safety and quality of care and quality of life.
Catholic aged care services provide more than 25,000 residential aged care beds and care for more than 36,500 home care and support consumers. CHA members provide for 1 in 7 of all public and private palliative care hospitalisations in Australia, and half of all private palliative inpatient beds.
With our deep experience and commitment to aged care and to palliative care, CHA is proud to be a part of the End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) consortium. This project connects health professionals with relevant and useful tools, information and resources that will help them deliver care that meets consumer expectations.
ELDAC has been designed to support health professionals to deliver high-quality palliative care and advance care planning for older Australians to live well until their natural death. By using the resources provided within the toolkits, and particularly the Residential Aged Care, Primary Care and Home Care toolkits, Catholic aged care service providers will find relevant, useful information that will not only improve their care, but also provide care that meets current consumer expectations of what constitutes a good end of life experience. Find out more about ELDAC and visit the toolkits via the website, www.eldac.com.au.
This is our enduring commitment to end-of-life care.
Suzanne Greenwood, CEO of Catholic Health Australia (CHA)