Taking a palliative approach

  • 1 in 18 residential aged care residents assessed as needing palliative care
  • Approximately 70% of people want to die at home

Dying is an inevitable part of life, and Churches of Christ Care supports the Grattan Institute’s view that “a good death gives people dignity, choice and support to address their physical, personal, social and spiritual needs”.

This Palliative Care Week (24-30 May 2015) Churches of Christ Care has released its position statement on palliative care.

Bryan Mason, Director of Seniors and Supported Living said palliative care is an issue that needs to be faced now, particularly with an aging population.

“Supporting people to have a good death is a significant clinical policy and practice challenge that we must face as the populations ages,” Mr Mason said.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report titled Palliative Care Services in Australia 2014, of the 226,000 permanent residential aged care residents who had completed Aged Care Funding Instrument assessments in 2012-13, 1 in 18 were assessed as needing palliative care.

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

 “The palliative approach does not start in the last days or weeks of somebody’s life. It begins early when people first come into care and are relatively well. Being able to communicate their needs and wishes openly and knowing that their choices will be upheld at the end of their lives, increases people’s sense of positive wellbeing,” Mr Mason said.

The palliative approach means there will be more open, informative and meaningful communication and conversations with residents, their families and staff.

“A palliative approach provides an opportunity to change people’s perceptions of death and dying in the context of positive wellbeing.

“It provides written advanced care plans, improving end of life care and reducing unwanted and unneeded medical treatments and hospitalisations.”

In its position paper, Churches of Christ Care calls on the federal government to investigate increasing the provision of community-based palliative care packages to support people’s choices around receiving care.

“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.”

Churches of Christ Care commends the Australian Government for its support in rolling out the Residential Aged Care Palliative Approach Toolkit. It also supports the National Palliative Care Strategy and the guidelines for a Palliative Approach in residential and community-based care.

Churches of Christ Care operates 28 aged care services in Queensland (26) and Melbourne, Victoria (2).

Posted May 29, 2015 in News