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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 Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) manages the National Aged Care Advocacy Program. OPAN provides information, education and free, confidential individual advocacy to both community and residential aged care and potential consumers, their carers and families. Lewis Kaplan, former CEO of OPAN, discusses what is the relationship between good advocacy services and good palliative care.
Have you ever tried to broach the topic of end-of-life wishes with a loved one and been met with stunned silence? People often report this kind of experience, and research indicates that many people are uncomfortable with discussing death and dying. This leaves many Australians unprepared for death and the decisions that need to be made when a person is dying. Dr Lauren Miller-Lewis discusses the importance of bringing conversations about death to life through online learning.
Online health information is available and accessible almost instantaneously; in Australia this is true for most individuals with internet connections, from any digital device. Sourcing evidence-based research and information regarding health is crucial in informing decision making, improving knowledge and skills, and guiding service choices and clinical practice for health professionals and care workers. Virtual health resources are widely used in clinical care settings; individuals routinely search online for answers to health-related queries, which may assist their ability to appropriately service others in their care. For individuals working in aged care, accessing online information facilitates timely answers to their queries or may contribute to their ongoing professional education. Health professionals and care workers are also well-positioned to refer their clients or patients to trustworthy, reputable, and up-to-date online health resources.
In spring each year, postgraduate students from all around Australia leave family and work responsibilities to spend 2 intensive days at Flinders University in Adelaide. These professionals come to interact with peers and facilitators to learn more about communication at the end of life, the topic covered as core in all of our courses.
Communication, the cornerstone of excellent end-of-life care, is that delicate skill that can flourish in the fertile environment of mindful practice and supportive critique.