Quality of End of Life Care Newsletter Edition Four - June 2020


It’s hard to believe we are coming to the end of our third phase of the Quality EOLC Project and are pleased to announce that the Sydney North Health Network has given further funding to continue our work with you in 2020/21.

The Community of Practice – Quality End of Life Care in RACH continues to grow and now has 300+ aged care health professionals in Northern Sydney local health district registered. This enables us to communicate important information to you. 

End of Life Care and Advance Care Planning is now more than ever in the spotlight, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting that families and residents need to think about what is important to them and have those conversations.  It has also stimulated conversation within Government to address the need to release additional funding. During Palliative Care Week the Australian Government released $57.2 M to improve palliative care in aged care facilities across Australia.  

Minister Colbeck (Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians) commented “Research shows palliative care intervention is linked to substantial reductions in the length of hospital stays, fewer hospital admissions and enables people to die in their place of choice”  

Learn more


Quality Palliative Care responds to needs of residents and their families

We know it has been such a challenging time for everyone working in aged care recently and we take our hats off to you for managing as well as you have. Who knew we’d all become I.T experts in 2020! We love hearing how creative you’ve been ensuring communication is maintained with families. Families have reported that they feel less anxious and more connected with FaceTime sessions, social distancing visits, tele family meetings and receiving daily email updates. It’s been encouraging to hear of some of the positive outcomes that have come from this challenging time. 

Helpful resources and advice for families, can be found on Advance Care Planning and Carer Help.  


Have you heard of the CarerHelp website?

CarerHelp is designed to empower carers to cope with the hard times as well as they can, and to make space for good times as well. When carers feel ready for their role, everybody benefits. The website has a number of helpful articles and information sheets, to share with families, including information pathways such as:

* When someone needs care
* Caring when death is a possibility
* Preparing for dying
* When the person is dying
* After Caring

Within the Carer Library, which brings together a range of tools, contacts, and resources to support carers, are the CarerHelp Sheets. The CarerHelp Tip Sheets provide practical information on issues that your families and carers are likely to face when their loved one is at the end of life. We suggest you print off a couple and promote these to your families. For Example: Caring for Yourself at the bedside


Grief and Bereavement Support

Clinical Evidence from CareSearch, believes that most people who experience normal grief do not require specialist counselling, but would benefit from reassurance, acknowledgement of their losses and access to information. For more information click here.

There are many resources available for your families, friends and residents, including: 

Bereavement Practical MattersBereavement Practical Matters

Understanding Grief – Palliative Care Australia


Free Online Grief Information Sessions

A series of online sessions from Sydney Grief Counselling, will answer questions and provide practical strategies to help manage grief and help others who are grieving. These sessions are a way to promote open discussions about grief and consider ways to cope and support others who are grieving. 

Learn more

These sessions remain free to those in need and are available to book your place online. Click on the links below, to learn more: 


Introducing a NEW program - Emotional Wellbeing for Older Persons

Launched in November 2020 by Anglicare funded by Sydney North Health Network to provide mental health care to people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Northern Sydney, who are experiencing or are at risk of mental health concerns. The service will benefit people by assisting to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and increase ability to cope with life changes. Anglicare will also work with staff in Residential Aged Care Facilities to assist them to better manage mental health of residents. The team consists of social workers, a clinical psychologist and a mental health nurse.

 Learn more


Quality EOLC Project Tele-education 

The Tele-education training will be delivered via Microsoft Teams for you to watch at your workplace. A Teams calendar invite will be sent to you from us, to join these education sessions. 

Our next education will be held Tuesday 7th July 2020 from 1.30pm – 2.30 pm. Delivered by our Palliative Care Staff Specialist Dr Peter Roach, Neringah & Greenwich Hospitals the topic will be ‘Recognising the deteriorating patient in RAC and when a palliative approach is needed’. 

Followed by our next education session on Thursday 23rd July 2020 from 1.30pm – 2.30 pm. Delivered by our Palliative Care Staff Specialist Dr Abbie Franklin, Northern Beaches Hospital the topic will be ‘Pain assessment and management (including anticipatory S/C EOL medication)’. 


Webinar: Identifying dying and understanding prescribing guidelines

End of Life Care Sydney North Health Network (SNHN) invites GPs, Residential Aged Care (RACF) Nurses and Pharmacists to a webinar and Q&A session on End of Life Care including identifying dying and understanding prescribing guidelines. Taking place on Tuesday 16th June at 7:00pm.

Learn more


Palliative Care Week May 2020

National Palliative Care Week (NPCW) was held from Sunday 24 May – Saturday 30 May, with the theme “Palliative Care… It’s more than you think”. Palliative care can help people with life-limiting illnesses to live as well as possible, for as long as possible – supporting their physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs. 

A highlight of Palliative Care Week was the launch of this new online self-care resource: Self-Care Matters during National Palliative Care Week 2020.

The free resource has been authored and produced by well-respected self-care expert Dr Jason Mills, a nurse academic with a clinical background in palliative care and mental health. 

Self-care is caring for everybody. As Palliative Care Aged Care health professional, having a self-care plan can help you take time for yourself and the people you care about. This has a flow-on effect that allows you to take better care of your patients.  

Building a self-care plan can seem complicated. Dr Jason Mills has developed the Self-Care Matters, resource, a first of its kind self-care toolkit specially designed for self-care practice in the palliative care sector, which can help you build your own self-care plan.  

We suggest you have a look at this free resource, share with your colleagues and make sure you  are all taking great care of yourselves just the same way you take great care of others.


Quality EOLC in RACH Resources available to buy 

The End of Life Flipchart and End of Life Resource Book is now available to purchase at the HammondCare e-bookshop:

Buy now


Responding to changed behaviours in people living with dementia

With the outbreak of COVID-19, aged care workers tell us people living with dementia are feeling more anxious. Familiar routines have changed and news about the crisis is distressing. 

Caring for people living with dementia can be a challenging role. New restrictions can increase the stress experienced by those you care for resulting in changed behaviour or their health declining. As you try to keep people living with dementia safe and respond to their needs, the expectations on you might feel overwhelming.

Support is available to you and families, including free online training from Dementia Australia. Learn more Dementia Australia - Dementia Learning


What else are we working on in 2020? 

Thank you for being part of the Quality End of Life Care in Northern Sydney Residential Aged Care Homes, we value your support. In 2020/21 the projects will continue to focus on:  

  • Tele-education 
  • Supported Needs Round education and implementation
  • ACP Pathway for RACH
  • ACP Supported Life Decision document


Sarah Fox, Project Development Manager, Community Palliative Care

Kelly Arthurs, CNC Clinical Lead Palliative Care