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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.
End of life law governs medical decisions made at the end of life, as well as around Advance Care Planning.
Every year in Australia thousands of deaths occur following a medical decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. This is just one type of end of life decision which may arise in aged care practice.
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.
Many health professionals would like to help patients with advance care planning. However, most of them need more training and support to improve their skills and confidence. Linda Nolte of Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) writes how their free online courses can help upskill and build the confidence of health professionals in this important area.