From left: Pat Sparrow, Dr Jane Fischer, Andrew Allsop, Liz Callaghan and Suzanne Greenwood.

As Australia marks National Palliative Care Week, aged care, seniors and palliative care groups release set of agreed principles on end-of-life care in residential facilities.

The principles outline the need for aged care services to recognise when a resident is approaching the end of life and to ensure their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are assessed and met.

The new principles released on Tuesday

They state that care should be holistic and respectful of dignity, privacy and diversity.

The eight high-level principles have been developed by Palliative Care Australia, COTA Australia, Alzheimer’s Australia, Aged & Community Services Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, Aged Care Guild and Catholic Health Australia.

They were released yesterday to mark National Palliative Care Week (21-28 May) which this year is focused on the provision of palliative and end-of-life care in aged care.

The new principles come amidst ongoing concern over the level of resourcing and training in the residential aged care sector to respond to the rising acuity of residents and increasing need for palliative care.

In October last year advocates highlighted latest official figures that showed not all aged care residents who need palliative care are receiving it (read that story here).

Australian studies have also highlighted the need for specialist palliative services to reduce unnecessary hospitalisations for residents near the end of life (read our report here).

Launching the new principles on Tuesday, the sector groups said the guide reflected a “shared commitment to ensuring that people who are approaching the end of their lives in residential aged care services have the best death possible and are able to live life to the fullest with dignity and in comfort.”

The principles recognise the contributions of all those involved in the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care and the need to support aged care residents, families and carers through all stages of the illness and in bereavement, they said.

Access the principles document here

Special coverage

To mark National Palliative Care Week, Australian Ageing Agenda is publishing a series of articles on palliative and end-of-life care provision in residential aged care.

The first two articles are online today with the remaining two being published on Friday:

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