Care Community stories

How we’re transforming palliative care in aged care

18th January 2022 | 3 min read
Palliative care in aged care

Talking about palliative care in aged care and end of life care can be difficult but planning ahead is important. To support you as best we can when you begin these conversations, we’re taking steps to make the end of life phase simpler and better for individuals and families. 

Palliative Care has long been a focus of our care delivery and our approach aligns with best practice, as well as recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. From extensive training of our team to implementing a new Palliative Care Champion model to drive activities.

Palliative care in aged care: under the spotlight

In a recent report published by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Commission identified an urgent need for reform in palliative care (PC) and end-of-life care (EOLC).

Quality palliative and end-of-life care is fundamental in ensuring older Australians can live as fully and as comfortably as possible when living with a terminal illness and as they approach their final days.

In its findings, the Commission made a number of recommendations, many of which addressed the need for residential aged care providers to deliver high quality palliative care in aged care and deliver compulsory training for aged care workers.

Opal HealthCare’s Palliative Care Program

Our Palliative Care Program was already underway when the Commission’s report was released. In our program, we're delivering initiatives centred around three strategic areas to ensure our residents have access to high quality palliative and end-of-life care.

This includes:

  • Palliative Care education and training of our team with a series of one hour or one day programs.
  • Implementing a Champion model in which team members are selected to be a Palliative Care Champion, and help to improve palliative care practices in their Care Community and embed those as “business as usual.”
  • Proactive discussions with specialist Palliative Care Services in which our Care Community leaders discuss improvement work and the type of work that can be done together.

Gabrielle Prest, Opal HealthCare’s Project Lead describes the strategic areas and key actions of the program in detail here.

How we’re approaching end of life care for our residents

At Opal HealthCare, we believe care should be deeply personal and tailored to meet our residents’ physical and emotional needs. When you decide on a care plan early, you’ll help to ensure your loved one’s wishes are clearly understood so that they live well right to the end of their life.

Our team at Norah Head Care Community went above and beyond to support Norma and her family with end-of-life care, tailoring a care plan that respected Norma and her family’s wishes.

In Norma’s final days, her room was dimly lit to create a soothing environment. As per Norma’s request, our team played her favourite music; and in her moments of awareness, she would sing along, joined by everyone present in the room. Just as Norma wished, her daughter was by her side as she peacefully passed away. Our team did a wonderful job in making sure Norma’s last moments were full of love, laughter and absolute joy. Read Norma’s full story here.

Click the link below to learn more about palliative care in aged care and end of life care at Opal HealthCare.

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