Palliative care needs, services and resources in residential aged care are the focus of a $15 million project involving a consortium of national agencies including provider representatives.
The End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) project was among those funded in a $60 million palliative and end of life funding allocation announced by Minister for Health Greg Hunt on 17 October.
The ELDAC consortium includes Queensland University of Technology, Flinders University and University of Technology Sydney, along with partners Palliative Care Australia, Aged & Community Services Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, Australian Health Care and Hospitals Association and Catholic Health Australia.
Professor Patsy Yates from Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education heads the consortium conducting the project, which will run through to 2020.
“ELDAC is a new project that seeks to improve the care of older Australians through advance care planning and palliative care activities.” Professor Yates told Australian Ageing Agenda.
She said aged care services were an important partner in the provision of end-of-life care for older Australians.
“Around 80 per cent of Australians who died in 2010-2011 aged 65 or over had used aged care services in the eight years prior to their death and three-quarters of this group had used an aged care service during the 12 months before they died.”
The project will build on existing work and resources, using the evidence developed for palliAGED and the expertise of Advance Care Planning Australia, Professor Yates said.
ELDAC will increase capacity by providing access to a set of toolkits for residential, home and primary care plus others that deal with legal issues and service partnerships, she said.
There will also be a phone service to help aged care workers, nurses and GPs find information plus opportunity for services to be involved in local and regional partnership projects.
Professor Yates said other work would look at technology resources and policy workshops to highlight sector issues.
“Together the activities will develop the environment to support older people around advance care planning and palliative care in the aged care and primary care sectors.”
A new website will provide information on services, contracts and service and clinical resources plus host the five toolkits.
ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow said there was an increasing need to expand initiatives that supported people to die in their own homes regardless of location and ensured an appropriately trained and skilled workforce.
“Palliative and end-of-life care are important elements of the services delivered by aged care providers and essentially core business for them,” Ms Sparrow said.
“ELDAC will empower and inform aged care workers to deliver this important element by providing access to advice, training and linkages through capacity building resources.”
Catholic Health Australia CEO Suzanne Greenwood also added her support to the project.
“I am looking forward to ensuring CHA aged care provider members have an opportunity to be involved and benefit from this project,” she said.
Those wanting to keep up to date with the project can register their interest at www.eldac.com.au.
More details on the end-of-life projects to share in the $60 million is available here.
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