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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.
In health care the role of evidence in decision making is recognised by health care practitioners and providers, and relates to understanding the balance between the potential benefits and harms of any practice, treatment or intervention. Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht of CareSearch discusses the importance of independent, critical appraisal and synthesis of evidence into reliable, practical guidance for recipients and providers of care.
Health care professionals agree that the quality of care provided in the emergency department for dying patients and their families is often not as good as it needs to be. Dr Tracy Giles of Flinders University explains how her research into the experiences of family members will help to identify what is working well already and areas of care that need improvement, and how you can become involved.
One part of advance care planning that is often unseen is law. Yet law plays an important role in end-of-life care. Professor Ben White and Professor Lindy Willmott from Queensland University of Technology explains the legal aspects of planning for advance care and end of life, and how the Australian Centre for Health Law Research supports health professionals.
The pattern of disease, dying and death has changed dramatically in Australia over the last century. In Australia alone almost 160,000 people die every year. Of these at least 120,000 are expected deaths, meaning that access to palliative care could be of great benefit to both the individuals and their families. But ensuring access to quality palliative care for all who need it is not without its challenges. This is why a group of researchers sought funding from National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for the Centre of Research Excellence in End-of-Life Care (CRE-ELC).