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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.
Palliative care for people living with dementia should be available when and where it is needed. The Dementia Australia Policy Team discusses their discussion paper on what Australia needs to do to improve palliative care services for people living with dementia.
Symptom management is a large component of maintaining a person’s comfort at the end of life, along with supporting spiritual, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the person and their loved ones. Karen Gregory from Resthaven Inc. discusses how routine comfort measures often thought about at this time are around pain relief, comfortable positioning, skin care, urinary and bowel care, mouth and eye care. She refers to the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets and gives tips on simple techniques to maintain comfort of the eyes and mouth which can make a high impact on the quality of life during the last days of life.
Advances in medicine mean health care professionals can prolong life, yet some treatments have a low chance of providing tangible benefits to some patients, can result in a ‘bad death’, and represent a multi-million dollar cost to the public. Professor Adrian Barnett from the Queensland University of Technology discusses the study he is involved in which looks to increase awareness among hospital clinicians of the extent of non-beneficial treatment at the end-of-life and stimulate action to reduce it.
No matter their diverse characteristics, life experiences, cultural background, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation or financial situation, every Australian has the right to have to their individual needs and expectations met without discrimination. For many, there remains a difficulty in accepting that older adults or those who are at end of life want intimacy and have sexuality needs. Nigel McGothigan, Director of Aged Care and Health Care Education from Australian Capital College discusses the tools put in place to support the aged care workforce to understand and be agile in addressing expectations and the complex and diverse care needs of the older person.
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has not forgotten its place in helping to upskill and empower the aged care workforce in responding to residents reaching the end of their lives. Pat Sparrow, CEO of ACSA discusses the importance of high-quality palliative care and end of life care services in aged care facilities and how partnering with projects such as End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) can support aged care workers in providing quality care for Australians as they reach the end of life.