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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.
Seventy per cent of older Australians are still without an Advance Care Directive. Given the expected increase in our older population and the focus on person-centred care at the end of life, our aged care workforce requires support. Julia Todd from Advance Care Planning Australia discusses the importance of ongoing education and training for the aged care sector, and insights from their initiative.
Most people with advanced disease experience uncontrolled symptoms such as fatigue, pain or breathlessness, which can interfere with their daily lives. To help overcome these symptoms opioids are often prescribed for symptom relief to help patients, which enables them to do activities they were unable to do such as walking, climbing a flight of stairs and driving. Diana Ferreira discusses the importance for clinicians and researchers alike to critically consider the issues of driving and opioid use for people receiving palliative care.
Part of holistic health care is the recognition that humans are sexual beings. Evidence tells us that the sexual needs of patients receiving palliative care are often not met. Brigitte Karle of Neringah Hospital discusses how they investigated gaps in their practice and how they could improve the ability to provide holistic care of their patients including support for intimacy and sexuality.
ELDAC has developed a framework that helps aged care staff and services to consider and manage key issues in the last phase of life when a person progresses toward death. In her blog, Professor Jennifer Tieman discusses the ELDAC Care Model, its development, and how it can be used by aged care staff and services (working both in and beyond the ELDAC project) to provide quality care at the end of life.