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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.
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.
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.
Most Australians have an expectation that their GP will be able to provide them with the care they need when they are unwell, or at least make sure that they are linked in with the right services. While most GPs feel they have a role to play in caring for patients at the end-of-life, many do not feel confident in doing so.
Recognised barriers to providing palliative care include patient complexity, inadequate training, inadequate access to resources and poor communication from specialists or treating teams.
Palliative care and advance care planning is, and should be, part of the normal scope of practice of all primary care providers. To support this ELDAC has developed the primary care toolkit with relevant information and resources.
Providing culturally appropriate and person-centred palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients can be complex. Fiona Walls from the Lowitja Institute discusses how the findings and resources developed from Managing Two Worlds Together study can help.
Are older Australians receiving the medical care that they want, and how well does their care align with their personal values and preferences?
To help answer this question, Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) is leading a pioneering research project, the National Advance Care Directive Prevalence Study 2018, the first of its kind in Australia.