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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.
Older people living in residential aged care facilities need to be provided high quality end-of-life care. This will often involve nurses who will help with advance care planning and implement a palliative approach to care. Mia Taylen-Smith of Metro South Palliative Care discusses how their Improving End-of-Life Care Residential Aged Care Residents Initiative aims to enable aged care nurses.
The end of life makes older people more vulnerable to elder abuse. Dr Kelly Purser and Associate Professor Tina Cockburn from the Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology discuss the escalating, and often hidden, problem of elder abuse in Australia’s ageing population and the different forms it can take.
About a third of Australian nurses work in rural and remote practice and many are sole practitioners working in geographically diverse and challenging areas. This requires nurses to have a diverse range of skills, professional and otherwise, including the need to provide quality palliative care. One of our biggest challenges is in being able to maintain those skills in their environment. Ann Aitken, Acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Services, discusses how the palliAGEDnurse and palliAGEDgp apps provide nurses and their medical colleagues a way to gain 24/7 offline palliative care information to help them in their practice.
The End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) helpline (1800 870 155) offers free access to information over the phone to people caring for older Australians with a palliative need. This includes all health professionals and workers in residential aged care, home care, general practice, primary health networks, and allied health professionals. Dr Georgia Rowley and Caroline Litster discuss what the ELDAC helpline is, why it was established, who it can support and reasons why to call it.
Staff at the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner have been listening to the stories of those dying in aged care since we first began on 1 January 2016. These stories help us to understand the needs of dying people and their families, and to work with service providers to ensure that their palliative care improves. Jan McGregor, Director at Aged Care Complaints Commissioner’s Clinical Unit discusses the most difficult complaints to resolve are those where there has been a breakdown in communication between the service and the family and the importance of communication in palliative care.