Quality of End of Life Care Newsletter Edition Five - September 2020

Connecting Residents with Families during COVID-19

Family photo puzzles

We had such a great response to the idea of creating a family puzzle or scrabble board, which many families organised for Father’s Day gifts.

My Picture Puzzle creates the puzzle once a photo is supplied. You can specify the number of pieces in the puzzle to make the pieces larger or smaller. Take a look here.

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Connecting with a smile by wearing a mask with a heart

When wearing a face mask and PPE, some people may find this confusing or feel afraid when they can’t see your face. By creating your photo portrait and applying to your PPE, this can help to reassure people and help to identify you to others. For more tips, take a look here

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Clear face masks

We contacted the Deaf Society to follow up on the question received about communicating with residents who are hearing impaired. They have had many enquires and can suggest these options to purchase from Etsy.

We have also included an article discussing the wearing and safety of clear face masks.

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Upcoming tele-education training  

The QEOLC Project has delivered the following three one-hour tele-educations in the last few months via Microsoft Teams. If you missed a presentation, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a copy of the video or slides:  

  • Recognising the deteriorating patient in RAC and when a palliative approach is needed, Dr Peter Roach, Palliative Care Staff Specialist, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital
  • Pain in Residential Aged Care, Dr Abbi Franklin, Palliative Care Staff Specialist, Northern Beaches Hospital
  • Connecting residents and their loved ones when they are unable to see each other, Kelly Arthurs, Palliative Care CNC

Next session: Tuesday 29th September, 2020

Topic: Breathlessness and associated anxiety in aged care

Sally Baska is a senior physiotherapist working at HammondCare with extensive experience in the palliative care field working with inpatients and in the community. Sally has a special interest in this area and has designed in conjunction with other health professionals a breathlessness program for palliative patients.

The presentation will include the following learning objectives: 

  • Understand the factors contributing to chronic breathlessness;
  • Review how to assess and measure degrees of breathlessness;
  • Learn how to implement and use a breathlessness action plan;
  • Understand the rationale behind management strategies that assist in reducing the perception of breathlessness.

Date: Tuesday 29th September

Time: 1:30PM - 2:30PM

Venue: Tele-Education

To join this valuable education session, please register here.

Palliative Care Needs Rounds resources have arrived

Palliative Care Needs Rounds (Needs Rounds), a unique way of improving palliative care for people living in residential care facilities for older people.

Find out how to use Needs Rounds to generate the positive benefits for residents and staff demonstrated in our research.

Find out more

COVID-19: Preparing for an outbreak

See below COVID-19 Strike Force Response Information for Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) – Your COVID Preparedness Checklist.

Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) has established a COVID-19 Strike Force that will provide a prompt response to provide clinical and operational support to a confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 in high risk settings, including Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs). For the purpose of this response, a single confirmed COVID-19 case in a RACF constitutes an outbreak.

The key to managing and containing the spread of COVID-19 within any facility is preparedness to enable an early and rapid response. The checklist here may be used to guide your preparations and response for a potential COVID-19 outbreak (Table 1).

Communication Plan if resident tests positive available here.

National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce

The Taskforce is supporting Australia’s healthcare professionals with continually updated, evidence-based clinical guidelines. For the management of people with COVID-19 who are receiving palliative care flowchart, click here.

Sign post to resources: Multi-lingual information 

There are things that can help to prepare as someone approaches the last few weeks and days of life. Having information can help to make choices.

People vary in what they know, understand and believe about death and dying. They also differ in what they want to know. Each individual should be as informed, or not, as they want to be. For many, knowing what to expect can help take some of the fear, distress and anxiety away. For others, having too much information gives them more things to worry about. To get started watch this short video to learn more about preparing at the end of life.

Available in various languages:

The At the End of Life Fact Sheet is also available.

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How palliative care can help you in 21 languages – developed by Palliative Care Australia

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Addition to your family and resident communications

A very informative flyer for families to add to your Welcome Packs or when a resident has entered a palliative stage of care.  If you are sending information electronically to families the flyer is embedded with many links to further information.

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Articles of interest

Explaining the difference between palliative care and euthanasia

There is a continuing need to increase public awareness of palliative care and clarify misperceptions about its differentiation from voluntary assisted dying, according to the authors of a Perspective published online today by the Medical Journal of Australia

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What end of life care is like during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Looking after patients at the end of their life can be incredibly rewarding. Especially being able to bear witness to the joy and love they have created in their life as their family hold vigil to mark their last days. COVID-19 has changed all that.

The aged care wards in the hospital where I work are normally for rehabilitation for older adults who have recovered from their initial illness but are not yet ready to go home. This ward is in an old part of the hospital with shared rooms and bathrooms, never designed for infection control. Now it is a 'hot' ward for older adults, where every patient has COVID-19, so we put on our PPE: tight N95 masks, gowns, gloves and face shields before we enter the ward and don't take it off again until we leave. 

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The Day I meet you in the Emergency Department will probably be one of worst in your Life

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Let’s Talk About Dying, Peter Saul

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