What's New in the Community

Read palliative care news and events around Australia.
29 November 2019

Palliative Care Australia elects new Board Chair

At the Annual General Meeting and Board meeting, held November 2019, Palliative Care Australia (PCA) elected Prof Meera Agar, Professor of Palliative Medicine and a Professor at the IMPACCT (Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation) Centre at the University of Technology Sydney, as Chair of the PCA Board. Elected to the position of Deputy Chair was Helen Walker, Nurse Unit Manager of the Laurel Hospice at the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide, who also serves as the Deputy Chair of Palliative Care South Australia and Deputy Chair of the Laurel Palliative Care Foundation. Read the PCA media release for more.

18 November 2019

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) launches free app

On November 15, 2019, ACGB released a free app designed to support people experiencing grief and bereavement. The MyGrief app is evidence-based and assists people to assess how effectively they are currently managing their grief, and provides support, guidance and strategies to enable them to self-manage their grief journey.

8 November 2019

Dementia Australia call to systematise and customise palliative and end of life care

In their discussion paper ‘Dying Well – Improving palliative and end of life care for people with dementia’ released on October 30, 2019, Dementia Australia has called on the Victorian State government (in collaboration with the Commonwealth government) to systematise and customise palliative care for people with dementia, acknowledging the contextual complexities of dementia care within the different health care and community settings. The full set of papers for Federal, Queensland, Victoria, and NSW governments are available from Dementia Australia as of November 28th. 

8 November 2019

COAG agenda includes palliative care (336kb pdf)

At the October 31st, 2019 meeting of Health ministers from the Commonwealth, each state and territory and New Zealand a range of national health issues were discussed. Among them three items related to palliative care and advanced care planning. 

1 November 2019

Interim report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released an Interim Report setting out most of their findings to September 2019. The report highlights three areas requiring immediate action and major quality and safety issues including ‘patchy and fragmented palliative care for residents who are dying’. Submissions in response to the content of the Interim Report are invited until the end of April 2020. The Final Report will be handed to the Governor-General on 12 November 2020.

3 October 2019

RACGP release updated Silver Book

The first part of the updated fifth edition of the RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver book) has been released online. Part A: Common clinical conditions in aged care includes palliative and end-of-life care with recommendations for practice and guidance on the GP’s role. Parts B and C are to be released in 2020.

24 September 2019

World Alzheimer Report 2019: Attitudes to dementia (8.44MB pdf)

Released on September 20 the World Alzheimer Report 2019: Attitudes to dementia (8.44MB pdf) analyses findings of the world’s largest survey on attitudes to dementia, as well as expert essays and case studies from across the world including Australia.

5 September 2019

Palliative Care Australia updates position statement on VAD

In September, 2019 Palliative Care Australia released an updated postion statement on Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD). In a media release, PCA Board Chair Dr Jane Fischer says the statement makes it clear that VAD is not part of palliative care but recognises that the palliative care workforce will require support to answer questions on VAD.

27 August 2019

Integrum SA program announced to provide support at the end of life

August 26, 2019 the South Australian government announced an agreement with Silver Chain/RDNS to support people with chronic conditions in the last 1,000 days of their life. The new program known as Integrum SA aims to reduce unplanned hospital admissions and improve quality of life for patients towards the end of their life by providing an alternative to hospital and residential aged care.

26 August 2019

New funding to reduce hospitalisations includes palliative care-related initiatives

On August 26th, 2019 the Australian government announced an investment of $11.7 million to keep Australians out of hospital. This includes projects for Early Detection of Deterioration in Elderly Residents of aged care facilities, and Implementation of Early Palliative Care in routine practice for people with advanced cancer.

1 August 2019

PCOC releases 2018 Annual report (1.32MB pdf)

The Australian Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) has released their 2018 Annual report (1.32MB pdf).

1 August 2019

Western Australia releases Final Report on Voluntary Assisted Dying

The Western Australia Department of Health has released the final report of the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying. The importance of ensuring people have information on comfort and palliative care is included in recommendations one and five of the fourteen recommendations put forward by the panel. 

22 July 2019

Australian-first resource aims to better understand grief and bereavement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures (4.04MB pdf)

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement has launched a new resource aimed at assisting practitioners and those working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures within the grief and bereavement sector. Working with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Grief and Bereavement: A Resource for Workers (4.04MB pdf).

21 June 2019

New Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Background Paper

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a new background paper Advance care planning in Australia (394kb pdf). All the papers are available for download on the Commission’s website.

20 June 2019

New Factsheet on Voluntary Assisted Dying (255kb pdf)

In response to new legislation enacted in Victoria on June 19, 2019 the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at Queensland University of Technology has released a new factsheet on Assisted dying (255kb pdf). The printable publication provides key facts including what it is, eligibility, access, and safeguards.

11 June 2019

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare finds Palliative care-related hospitalisations growing faster than other hospital services

Released May 22nd the latest Palliative care services in Australia report shows that between 2012-13 and 2016-17, palliative care-related hospitalisations rose by over 25% compared to an 18% increase recorded for all hospitalisations over the same period. Read more and access the report.

6 June 2019

Palliative Care Australia publishes guiding principles for health professionals about voluntary assisted dying (81kb pdf)

From 19 June 2019, Victorians at the end of life who are suffering and who meet strict eligibility criteria will be able to request access to voluntary assisted dying (VAD). On June 3rd, 2019 Palliative Care Australia released a guiding principles document for VAD. CEO Rohan Greenland says the document, Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia: Guiding principles for those providing care to people living with a life-limiting illness (81kb pdf) is national in scope, designed to sit alongside enacted state legislation where it exists, organisational ethical frameworks and professional codes of conduct. The guideline defines seven principles of equal importance:

  • People living with a life-limiting illness are supported and respected whether or not they choose to explore or access voluntary assisted dying.
  • People exploring voluntary assisted dying will not be abandoned.
  • Respectful and professional behaviour towards colleagues and co-workers regardless of their views on voluntary assisted dying.
  • Effective communication is an important part of quality care.
  • Ongoing development of knowledge, skill and confidence is required to provide competent and safe care to people living with a life–limiting illness. Self-care practice is a shared responsibility between individuals, colleagues and organisations.
  • Continue to learn from evidence and evolving practice to drive quality improvement in voluntary assisted dying.

Health professionals practicing in the state of Victoria can find more information on Voluntary Assisted Dying participation and services at Health.Vic

30 May 2019

Royal Commission hearings to include palliative care

The June 24 - 28th, 2019 public hearings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety being held in Perth will focus on person-centred care. This will include inquiry of:

  • the role of advance care planning to support the provision of quality aged care services
  • the extent to which people accessing aged care services are able to access palliative care
  • the quality of palliative care services available to people accessing aged care services

You can read more about the areas of inquiry at the Royal Commission webpage.

22 May 2019

Australian College of Nursing releases white paper on palliative care

Released in May 2019 and providing an overview of contemporary palliative care service delivery, ‘Achieving Quality Palliative Care for All: The Essential Role of Nurses - A White Paper by ACN 2019’ (437kb pdf) summarises evidence for the role of nurses in palliative care.  It also identifies urgent areas for action to ensure access to quality palliative care for all people with a life-limiting illness.

13 May 2019

National Palliative Care Week 19-25 May 2019

National Palliative Care Week is an annual event held to raise awareness of end of life and palliative care issues in the Australian community. This year’s theme is ‘What matters most?' The week is organised by Palliative Care Australia and supported by the Commonwealth Department of Health.