Community-based palliative care options needed

  • 1 in 20 residential aged care residents assessed as needing palliative care
  • Approximately 70% of people want to die at home

Leading not-for-profit provider of aged care Churches of Christ Care has called on the federal government to investigate increasing the provision of community-based palliative care packages to support people’s choices around receiving care.

While marking National Palliative Care Week (22-28 May 2016), the organisation has reaffirmed its stance on palliative care, particularly the need for care options in people’s own homes.

Director of Seniors and Supported Living, Bryan Mason recommended any changes to the funding model for community-based palliative care are implemented alongside support for providers to take a palliative approach.

“Palliative care is an issue that needs to be faced now, particularly with an aging population,” Mr Mason said.

“Of particular focus should be providing quality end of life options for those in rural and remote communities, our goal is to enable people to die with dignity, in a setting of their choice.”

“Around 70 per cent of people want to die at home, and as we work towards choice, we must consider the added pressure this puts on informal care provided by family and friends. Through a palliative approach we are able to identify when carers are experiencing distress and provide additional support.”

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, five percent of permanent residential aged care residents were assessed as needing palliative care. This equates to 11,629 of about 231,700 residents (2013–14) nationally indicating a need for this care.

As a leading provider of residential and community aged care, Churches of Christ Care is continuing its palliative approach as a model of care, increasing dignity and choice for people at the end of life.

“At Churches of Christ Care, we view spiritual care as being as important as physical care, and even more so at the end of life,” Mr Mason said.

“We can’t shy away from people as they contemplate the big questions at the end of life. What has my life meant? Have I made a difference? And what happens next?”

“A palliative approach doesn’t start in the last days or weeks of somebody’s life. It begins early when people first come into care, having a conversation now means that we know and respect people’s care choices at end of life.”

This approach means there is more open, informative and meaningful communication and conversations with clients, residents, their families, medical practitioners and care workers.

The Palliative Approach position statement can be viewed here.

Posted May 23, 2016 in News