As Palliative Care Week 2023 (21–27 May) approaches, Resthaven acknowledges that palliative care is an essential component of caring for older people, to best plan how to support them and their families as they near the end of their lives.
The theme of this year’s National Palliative Care Week is, ‘Matters of Life and Death’, positioning the significance of the conversation front and centre—palliative care is everyone’s business.
Resthaven was one of the first aged care providers to employ ‘in-house’ specialist palliative care clinicians to maintain or improve quality of life through the prevention and relief of suffering.
Resthaven Specialist Palliative Care Clinical Nurse, Karen Gregory, provides specialist consultative services across Resthaven’s twelve residential homes, as well as support to many community clients (pictured above and right at a Resthaven Head Office training session).
She says, ‘It is important to have a focus on palliative care.’
‘Many people associate palliative care with hospices, a cancer diagnosis, death, and dying. However, palliative care is not just about the end of life, nor is it just the domain of nurses and doctors.’
‘Dying involves social, cultural, spiritual, and other aspects of a person’s life.’
‘With good palliative care, those facing death and bereavement are supported to live, die, and grieve well, and to accept death as a natural part of life.’
‘We need to ensure that residents, clients, and their families have the opportunity to take part in advance care end of life planning; that we recognise clinical deterioration early, to ensure goals of care are clarified, and that end-of-life care meets the needs of an individual and their families.’
‘It is equally important to train our staff in recognising deterioration and palliative end of life care, as this is an integral part of aged care. Resthaven provides regular professional development sessions for staff to ensure our staff are provided with education and the skills to provide this crucial part of care.’
‘There are National Palliative Care Standards that articulate and promote a vision for compassionate and appropriate specialist palliative care that recognises the importance of person-centred and age-appropriate care. Our training emphasises that good palliative care is an essential component of the care that Resthaven provides.’