Subscribe Blog Contact
The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
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.
ABS data on Death Rates shows that age-specific death rates begin to increase for males around 55-59 years and for females around 60-64 years and then rise steadily. Data provided from PCOC shows that the mean age of patients being seen by palliative care services has increased from 69 years in 2008 to 72 years in 2016 and that there is an increasing number of clients being seen who live in residential aged care. An AIHW report on Use of aged care services before death reminds us that 80% of Australians who died in 2010-2011 aged 65 or over had used aged care services in the eight years prior to their death, and that three-quarters of this group had used an aged care service during the 12 months before they died.
Australia has led the world in providing evidence-based support for palliative care in aged care. The Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care (APRAC) and Palliative Approach for Aged Care in the Community (COMPAC) Guidelines were the first to acknowledge, compile, and promote the availability and importance of evidence that could guide and support palliative care for older people. These guidelines helped to support programs such as the PA Toolkit and COMPAC Training in developing evidence-based palliative care in aged care.
The need for evidence in this area has not diminished since the release of the APRAC Guidelines in 2006. However, there is a need to ensure that the guidance is current and that the guidance is readily available when it is needed and easily accessible by those who need it. To address these issues, a new resource funded by the Australian Government Department of Health is being developed by CareSearch. Over the last 12 months, CareSearch’s PCACE Project Team has been working with clinical experts, academics, peak bodies and those providing direct care to update palliative care guidance for aged care and to look at how to make these resources more readily available. This new resource will be called palliAGED and it will be launched on 25 May 2017.
The new palliAGED site will house an Evidence Centre with a number of evidence resources including Evidence Summaries and pathways to existing clinical evidence through Clinical Links. Evidence Summaries collate the latest high-level evidence on a range of care and service topics. Each of these pages has a companion page in the Practice Centre that highlights how the workforce can use this evidence in their practice with links to tools and resources. It makes the evidence active. The Practice Centre will also house the palliAGEDgp app and the palliAGEDnurse app, ensuring that these resources continue to be available to the aged care industry and the primary care sector.
We invite you to find out more about the project to build palliAGED, to register for a launch pack, and to make use of palliAGED when it is launched. Until then, you can follow all the latest development on palliAGED twitter.
palliAGED will be found at https://www.palliaged.com.au/ from 25 May 2017.
palliAGED is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. palliAGED is managed by CareSearch, Flinders University.
Dr Jennifer Tieman is CareSearch Director and an Associate Professor within the Discipline Palliative and Supportive Services at Flinders University, South Australia.