End-of-life care in residential aged care facilities
In 2017, the Improving End-of-Life Care Residential Aged Care Residents Initiative was developed by Brisbane South PHN in partnership with the Metro South Palliative Care Service (MSPCS). The initiative aims to support Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) to embed evidence-based practice in their routine clinical care to support high-quality end-of-life care for residents and their families.
The recent Productivity Commission’s Report, ‘End-of-life care in Australia’, agrees that end-of-life care should be core business for RACF’s. However, it acknowledges this will require a coordinated approach in supporting the upskilling and ongoing education of aged care nurses to ensure they have the necessary skills to lead and coordinate end-of-life care in RACFs.
Palliative care is a responsive and holistic approach to care provided for a person with an active, progressive, advanced disease who has little or no prospect of cure and who is expected to pass away. The primary goal of palliative care is to optimise the person’s quality of life.
Metro South Palliative Care Service
In our region, the Metro South Palliative Care Service (MSPCS) provides specialist palliative care services including within the community, residential aged care facilities, public and private hospitals including working closely with the St Vincent’s Private Hospital Community Specialist Palliative Care Team.
The MSPCS works with Brisbane South PHN through the BrisbaneSouthHealthPathways initiative to facilitate integrated, local health care pathways for patients requiring palliative and end-of-life care.
Paediatric Palliative Care Service
The Children’s Health Queensland Paediatric Palliative Care Service provides physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological support to children who have a life-limiting illness. Care focuses on quality of life – it does not mean withdrawing all treatment. Active interventions such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, medication regimes or special diets may help to relieve symptoms and improve a child’s quality of life.
The service also provides support to families (including siblings) of children with a life-limiting illness and arranges for palliative care to be delivered in various places, including the home, children’s hospital, local hospital or hospice.
Palliative care referrals
Refer to the following services:
Palliative Care Queensland
Palliative Care Queensland (PCQ) is an independent not-for-profit peak body representing palliative care providers, patients and their families, and those with an interest in palliative care in Queensland. They provide information about accessing Palliative Care services and support health professionals to provide quality palliative care.
The PallConsult is a Queensland Health service website and phone service providing 24/7 support to health care professionals without easy access to a palliative care service. PallConsult allows clinicians to speak with a specialist palliative care nurse at any time, day or night, and provide quality care for people approaching end-of-life and wishing to remain at home.
Phone: 1300 725 527
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
The End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) Helpline is a free Australian Government service. ELDAC provides information, guidance and resources to health professionals and aged care workers to support palliative care and advance care planning to improve health care for older people.
Call the ELDAC Helpline
Phone: 1800 870 155
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm
Support for families and carers
The ‘Carer Gateway’ website is the Australian Government’s online portal to provide practical advice and access to supports for family members and friends caring for people with health conditions that demand a lot of support from their carer, including those with life-limiting illnesses. Services including support to connect with health services, free phone counselling, carer coaching and connection to other carers.
Advance care planning
The ‘My Care, My Choices’ website is the Queensland Government’s online portal promoting the important processes of advance care planning and providing information and resources to the health professionals and the community.
Advance care planning involves informing and educating your patients about their ongoing health care options specific to their needs, then supporting their decision making. Advance care planning may be general or require specific advice about an Advanced Health Directive, Enduring Power of Attorney, Statement of Choices or forms to revoke these documents.
Brisbane South PHN has a quality improvement toolkit designed to support health professionals to provide quality palliative and end-of-life care.
Visit our Practice Support pages.