Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Spt-Oct 2013 Contents life care from the
moment of admission
and involving the
staff can achieve
for residents and
families and help
support residents to
die with dignity.
In recognition of
the project's success,
the model has been
rolled out to all of
Hall & Prior's 13
homes in Western
Australia and in July,
Home picked up
a Better Practice
Award from the Aged Care Standards and
Accreditation agency in the health and
personal care category.
STILL BELOW PAR
While many providers like Rockingham
Nursing Home are delivering high quality
palliative care to their residents, CEO
of Palliative Care Australia, Dr Yvonne
Luxford, says access to palliative care in
residential aged care is still well below par.
Luxford cites Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare statistics that show
that only 22 per cent of permanent aged
care residents receive palliative care.
In 2010-2011, there were about 50,500
deaths in residential aged care, but in
the same year only 11,083 permanent
residents had an ACFI assessment
indicating the need for palliative care.
Luxford says the latest evidence
indicates that around 70 per cent of those
who die each year would benefit from
access to palliative care, a figure that
would be even higher among older people
because of ageing and chronic disease.
The National Aged Care Alliance's
(NACA) own national report on palliative
care even states that the provision of
quality palliative care in residential
and community care, particularly for
the majority who have dementia, is the
exception rather than the norm.
NACA says conversations about dying
are generally ad-hoc and remain largely
taboo. Symptoms such as pain and
dysphasia are often poorly managed; and
end of life processes such as respiratory
failure, dehydration and anorexia are too
often treated as medical emergencies, rather
than as normal components of a terminal
process that can be managed appropriately
by palliative care teams and aged care staff.
To improve upon this situation, Luxford
says there needs to be a significant culture
change in aged care to recognise palliative
care as core business.
"If a third of all residents are dying each
year, then aged care facilities really have
to accept the Productivity Commission's
claim that palliative care should be core
business for aged care and yet it still
seems that the culture is often not set up
to support that concept," she says.
"It's not really set up to support people
dying in aged care at all, which is incredibly
problematic. We need to completely
rethink the culture of aged care."
Luxford identifies poor linkages with
GPs skilled in palliative care, a lack of
direct linkages with specialist palliative
care services and inadequate training of
aged care staff as key issues.
"We hear of horror stories of old
people in pain with extreme symptoms
who are simply moved into a room that
is marked palliative care, but it doesn't
mean that they are receiving any better
care at all," she says.
While recognising that the majority
of facilities strive for high quality care,
Luxford says individual cases of residents
dying in unnecessary pain as aired on ABC's
Lateline have also been raised with PCA.
"One woman told me about her
grandmother who was in great pain to
the extent that she could be heard yelling
throughout the facility but she was told
that the pain specialist wasn't available
because it was a weekend and she wasn't
being offered pain relief.
"You do hear these stories and
sometimes you hear experiences of
people with dementia who aren't
receiving adequate pain relief and other
Professor Colleen Cartwright from
Southern Cross University says it is an
abuse of an individual's human rights to
leave someone in pain.
"There is a still confusion out there in
the community about what is and what
isn't euthanasia. People think if someone
is given extra pain relief, which may
risk hastening death, it's some form of
euthanasia. It has nothing whatsoever to
do with euthanasia," she says.
"The irony is if you leave someone in
severe pain, you can hasten their death.
To die free of pain is everybody's right."
Dr Yvonne Luxford, CEO of Palliative
- Fully flexible three-headed
toothbrush 'surrounds' teeth
cleaning front, back & biting
surfaces simultaneously to
optimise plaque removal.
- Simple back and forth brush-
ing motion makes it quicker,
safer & easier to provide oral
• Small 'heart shaped' head
with 45° angled end rounded
• Designed to bend not break
• Brush heads and handle
covered in a non-slip soft
• Reusable bristle cover
Den st Recommended
Easier, Even When
Cooperation is Limited
MOBILE MEDICAL SYSTEMS
For specialised oral
For Further Informa on
Contact Mobile Medical
Ph: 02 9252 4410 or email
Made from a special high -
density foam and rigid core,
the OWD holds mouth safely
oral care & can
in hot water
www.australianageingagenda.com.au | 51
Links Archive AAA Jul-Aug 2013 AAA Nov-Dec 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page