Quality of End of Life Care Christmas Newsletter December 2020

What a year it has been! Especially for all of us working in aged care!

Fires, Royal Commission recommendations, COVID-19, new standards, visiting restrictions, media focus and dealing with issues daily that we would never have dreamt of.

However, we wanted to take the time to acknowledge the accomplishments we have all made in aged care, which include mastering telehealth and tele-education; embracing platforms such as Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, ZOOM, Webex and PEPIX not only kept us connected but help us to continue to care for those who we serve.

Using these video conferencing tools also enabled us to deliver monthly one-hour presentations on topics such as:

  • Recognising the deteriorating patient and when a palliative approach is needed
  • Pain management
  • Breathlessness
  • Staying connected with loved ones
  • Delirium
  • Grief and bereavement

We’d love to hear your feedback on these sessions and ask that you complete a survey; this will steer what other topics we cover in the future, and which ones we may repeat depending on need and demand.

Complete the survey

We’d also like to welcome Jon SanMartin to our team. Jon currently works as a Clinical Nurse Educator at Greenwich Hospital and started his nursing career in residential care. His specialist knowledge in palliative care will be an asset to the Quality End of Life Care Project.

Thank you for the beautiful care you provide to your residents, especially under such difficult circumstances this year. We look forward to building on what we have accomplished this year and wish you and your team a very Merry Christmas.

See you in 2021!!

Sarah Fox, Kelly Arthurs and Jon SanMartin.

Palliative Care Outcomes (PCOC) update

The Palliative Care Outcomes Commission (PCOC) framework in Residential Care continues to go from strength to strength, with an additional four more facilities joining the program in Northern Sydney. Next year, we’re looking at another five facilities to join the free program.

A fantastic achievement in 2020 has been the implementation of PCOC data collection across the following facilities: Opal Lourdes, BaptistCare Shalom Centre, Uniting Wesley Heights, Twilight Horton House and Caroline Chisholm Hall & Prior.

PCOC aims to improve palliative care outcomes for patient and carers. It has been proven to be a successful model to drive systems-level improvements across different care settings with older adults.

In the next phase of the Quality End of Life Care Project (2021-22), we are looking for another five facilities to take part in the quality improvement initiatives. This includes implementation of PCOC in Residential Aged Care (RAC), supported by a Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE), to conduct Palliative Care Needs Rounds and family meetings/webinars.

How PCOC supports services in meeting The Aged Care Quality Standards (ACQS)

We must continue to be progressive in this arena. Tune in to the next Residential Care Regional Forum hosted by the Sydney North PHN on 9 February 2021, as Malene Ahearn from University of Wollongong will be speaking about PCOC and how you can implement it in your home. If you would like to discuss, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Palliative care essential in aged care

We welcome the news that the Aged Care Royal Commission is making palliative care training mandatory, as palliative care is core business for residential care.

Following the Aged Care Quality Standards Review, 124 recommendations were made, which included comprehensive sector funding that specifically includes palliative and end-of-life care. Also advised, was a review of the Aged Care Quality Standards to require residential aged care providers to offer high–quality palliative care. The HammondCare Quality End of Life Care Project can assist you in meeting these recommendations.

Coinciding with this announcement, Palliative Care Australia has launched Palli8, an eight-point plan that proposes eight key recommendations to improve palliative care in aged care.

These are: 

  1. A person-centred approach to palliative care in aged care 
  2. Clearly articulated, robustly implemented – the aged care standards must include palliative care
  3. Palliative care training for every health and aged care worker.
  4. Mind the gap – we can’t improve what we don’t measure.
  5. Fund in full – we can’t implement if we don’t invest 
  6. Ensure equitable access – palliative care is a universal human right 
  7. Support Australians who are dying to talk 
  8. Palliative care must be a priority for all governments

Find out more details on the plan

The Palli8 plan was formally launched on 25th September 2020 at the Parliamentary Friends of Palliative Care virtual event. Dr Norman Swan, Producer and presenter of ABC’s Health Report hosted the event, and HammondCare CEO, Mike Baird, was a guest speaker.

Rewatch the event here

The Opioid debate

The palliative care community continues to voice its concerns regarding the restrictions surrounding prescribing subcutaneous anticipatory medicine. Knowing how vital immediate access to this medicine is, to alleviate pain for those with a life-limiting illness or receiving end of life care, the topic remains high on the agenda. A good overview of the issues and responses from the peak bodies by Mera Agar, Chair of Palliative Care Australia, can be viewed via the link below. 

Read more

DEFIB and DBS

As you have reported, we’re aware you’re seeing a lot more issues around Defibrillators and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). New technologies in aged care are certainly proving to be challenging when patients want a peaceful death or not extend their life unnecessarily. In response, we’re hoping to introduce a new education session on this topic next year. In the interim,  please refer to NSW Guidelines for Deactivation of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators at the End of Life. See FLOWCHART for ACI recommended process on Page 11. 

Quality End of Life Care Resources

As we go into the new year, we will be reprinting copies of the QEOLC Booklet and QEOLC Flip Chart. If you have any feedback, pleaseThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Also, please get in touch if you need additional copies of either the Flip Chart or Resource Booklet at your facility.

Kelly Arthur Clinical Nurse Consultant Research NurseMust listen - demystifying palliative care podcast

We highly recommend you listen to this podcast if you haven’t done so already.

HammondCare’s Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care, Kelly Arthur, Clinical Nurse Consultant and Research Nurse, speaks with Julie Baji, aged care phycologist, from Wise Care about demystifying palliative care. The podcast is an informative discussion about why we must support a good death in aged care and how families are supported through the process.

Listen here

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