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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.
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.
Training residential aged care (RAC) staff is important to support their knowledge to ensure excellent palliative care to their residents. Marg Adams from Palliative Care Queensland discusses her involvement in the Connecting End of Life Care Project in Northern Queensland (CELC-NQ) and highlights how the palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets have been used as a key resource by the sector.
The aged care sector has seen a major shift in the way residents in aged care should be cared for. Robyn McLean from Benetas Eaglehawk discusses the importance of providing individualised care and of listening to the needs and preferences of residents in order to support the quality of life.
Advance care planning is especially important as it assists health professionals to understand what choices and decisions have been made, how someone would like to be cared for, and the direction of treatment plans. However not all residential aged care facilities implement advance care planning policies. Nurse Practitioner Sharyn Speakman from Bushland Health Group discusses her experience and the processes she used to develop an advance care planning policy and procedures for the Bushland Health Group residential aged care facilities.
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.