This week (21-28 May 2017) is National Palliative Care Week, an annual awareness-raising week organised by Palliative Care Australia.
This year’s theme is ‘You matter, your care matters. Palliative care can make a difference’.
Resthaven was the first Australian aged care provider to employ a specialist palliative care Nurse Practitioner, Peter Jenkin (pictured above), to provide expert clinical services to Resthaven clients, in both residential and community services, who are approaching the end stage of their life.
Peter has worked to developed an integrated a model of care that focuses on advance care planning, early recognition of deterioration, care planning discussions with family and health care providers as well as end of life care pathways.
In 2016, Resthaven commissioned Western Sydney University to undertake an extensive evaluation of palliative and end of life care provision. This evaluation demonstrated that Resthaven’s investment in specialist staff such as Peter, and integrating a palliative approach model of care, has made a significant improvement in the lives of residents who are approaching the end of their lives.
Peter says, ‘Palliative and end of life care is something aged care staff deliver every day. A specialist role like mine is there to add value if and when there are complex care needs.’
‘As well as adapting and changing systems and processes, we have focused on education and mentoring to build capacity and resilience in our nurses, carers, managers, chaplains and even domestic staff. They are the ones who provide the majority of care and support to hundreds of residents and their families every year.’
‘The outcomes of the external evaluation now give us concrete evidence that our efforts have made a big difference,’ Peter adds.
‘We have evidence that less residents are ending up in hospital at the end of life for unnecessary reasons. Residents are now more likely to die in what is their home, with family supported throughout the process.’
The majority of General Practitioners surveyed rated Resthaven as providing significantly better palliative care services than some other residential aged care providers. Peter acknowledges that this only comes about from a team effort.
Pictured above: Resthaven Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Peter Jenkin, chats with Resthaven Malvern resident, Shirley Kanalley.