Resthaven answers Ten Questions about Palliative Care asked by Palliative Care Australia
Are you able to provide a palliative approach to care?
Yes, we pride ourselves on this. A palliative approach aims to improve quality of life for residents with life-limiting illnesses and their families. We do this by ensuring comfort through early identification, assessment and treatment of pain, physical, cultural, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. Importantly, palliative care is not restricted to the last days or weeks of a resident’s life.
Do I need an Advance Care Plan?
We actively encourage all residents to consider advance care planning and to complete an Advance Care Directive / Plan which can:
- Clearly communicate the person’s values, wishes, preferences and instructions for future health care/ treatment, end of life care and personal matters to ensure they receive the care they want
- Appoint one or more substitute decision makers to make decisions on behalf of the person if they are unable to do so for themselves.
What palliative care training do staff receive?
Our staff receive training about palliative and end of life care that is individualised and tailored to the needs and requirements of their role at Resthaven. This may be about helping facilitate discussions around advance care planning, managing troublesome physical symptoms such as pain or breathlessness, supporting the emotional and psychological needs of residents and their families, or providing personal care to a resident who is dying.
How will staff recognise when I’m close to dying and what processes are in place for this?
Our nurses are skilled in recognising the signs and symptoms that are commonly seen as a person approaches the end of their life. We use a nationally recognised ‘End of Life Care Pathway,’ to guide care and decision making at this time. This allows care planning by nursing, medical and allied health staff that takes into account the wishes of the resident and their family.
What support will there be for my loved ones when I’m close to dying?
We recognise that the emotional wellbeing of family members is integral to good palliative care. If needed, extra support in residential aged care is provided by the site chaplain, social worker, nursing staff at the site and specialist palliative care team as required. Family members are encouraged to be involved in care if they desire. They are welcome to stay with their loved one any time, day or night. We can assist with refreshments and sleeping arrangements for overnight stays. Our residential sites have private lounge areas and places where family members are welcome to gather and share this time together.
What arrangements are in place for my spiritual and cultural needs?
Resthaven is a richly diverse South Australian community organisation founded on the principles of inclusion and unity, embracing and respecting each person’s individual beliefs, culture, language, background, lifestyle, life experiences and values.
We support Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people through tailored assistance.
At each site there is a chaplain. However, residents are welcome to have their own religious/spiritual practitioner visit as needed.
Will I be able to have specialist palliative care if I need it?
Specialist palliative care teams do not take over the care of a resident in a residential aged care home. Instead, they can provide advice on complex issues and support to the aged care workforce and general practitioners.
Resthaven employs a highly experienced nurse practitioner with a specialist palliative care focus, who is usually the first contact for staff in regard to specialist advice and clinical care.
Will I get the medicines I need if things change suddenly, and how long will it take?
All Resthaven residential sites have a medication imprest (on-site stock) of the most commonly needed medications required for symptom management, which are available immediately, once prescribed by a GP or Nurse Practitioner, when a resident chooses to use the site’s pharmacy service. Additionally, there is access to an on-call pharmacist for urgent requirements outside of standard business hours.
How many staff are present on evening and night duty?
All Resthaven residential aged care homes have access to a registered nurse 24 hours/day. Staffing requirements are assessed by the site management team and adjusted according to residents needs at that time.
If I need equipment to help with my comfort or problems, will the facility provide it?
Resthaven residential aged care homes supply equipment required by residents for palliative care. Nursing and allied health staff routinely assess residents’ care needs and their requirements for equipment that is needed to help maintain their comfort, safety and dignity.