Hi everyone! My name is Marg Adams and I am delighted to be able to share my experiences with using the fantastic palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets for nurses and careworkers with you all.
Over the past 16 months, I’ve been working with Palliative Care Queensland (PCQ) as a Project Coordinator on an innovative project titled Connecting End of Life Care Project in Northern Queensland (CELC-NQ). This project involved extensive contact with members of the Residential Aged Care sector in Northern Queensland across Hospital and Health Services in Mackay, Townsville, and Cairns. The CELC-NQ project was administered by PCQ and supported by funding from Northern Queensland PHN through the Australian Government’s Primary Health Network (PHN) program.
As part of this project, we conducted a training needs analysis of residential aged care staff in the Hospital and Health Services of Mackay, Townsville, and Cairns to determine what kind of information staff needed to support their knowledge to ensure excellent palliative care to their residents with palliative care needs. A practice development program was then developed based on the staff-identified need for ready access to information and support about:
- palliative care and symptom management
- communication with residents/family, team members, and other service providers
- advance care planning, to about general palliative care
- where to gain practical hands-on experience with other services providing palliative care
- supporting residents and family with grief and loss.
I first came across the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheet resources when we were preparing the practice development program for CELC-NQ. Last year, I was asked by the CareSearch team based at Flinders University to be one of the reviewers of the first version of palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets. The timing of the CELC-NQ Practice Development Program rollout earlier this year coincided very nicely with the launch of the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets. The response from the workforce has been fantastic, particularly from residential aged care staff.
Nursing and careworker staff who were either new to their role in residential aged care or exploring new interests in providing excellent palliative care to their residents identified how helpful the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets could be to assist in clarifying their role in the team, supporting communication about advance care planning and supporting residents during their end-of-life phase.
Nursing and leadership staff of residential aged care facilities said that these tipsheets provided excellent opportunity to support their own and team professional development requirements by allowing space to reflect and document their own clinical and professional practice needs.
Clinical educators felt that the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets would be helpful in guiding centre-based education sessions on various topics including communication strategies with residents and families, symptom management and advance care planning.
As part of the CELC projects, we also developed several resource kits to assist staff with ready access to the best available palliative care evidence to support the care of residents with palliative care needs. A key resource in the kits has been the inclusion of hard copies and links to the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets for both nurses and careworkers. An example of one of the kits we developed was the ICARE for my residents with palliative needs by planning for their care after-hours resource kit. Since the rollout of the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets, we have had an opportunity to share the resources widely with colleagues working in residential aged care, primary health care, acute care and general practice throughout Queensland including CELC-NQ, CELC-Darling Downs and West Moreton. Further information about these projects can be found via the Palliative Care Queensland website http://palliativecareqld.org.au/celc/.
I wish you all the best with your work and encourage you to use the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets as a conversation starter with your colleagues.
Marg Adams, Senior Project Officer, Palliative Care Queensland