Autumnaged Care
Autumnaged Care

Principles of palliative care protect our most vulnerable

Autumnaged Care

Principles of palliative care protect our most vulnerable

When it comes to end of life care it is vital that all areas of care are coordinated to ensure the highest quality and standards.

One of the leading resources in this area is the collaborative endeavour by many of the aged care sectors leading organisations.

The Principles of Palliative and End-Of-Life Care in Residential Aged Care is a rich guiding resource when it comes to palliative care.

A combined effort between Palliative Care Australia, Alzheimer’s Australia, COTA Australia, Aged & Community Services Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, Catholic Health Australia and the Aged Care Guild have provided a united standpoint in establishing coherent recognition of the diverse needs of residential aged care consumers.

From residents, families, carers and aged care staff to service providers, the principles guide assists in asserting strong expectations and standards when it comes to providing palliative and end-of-life care.


How great is the need for quality palliative care?


The report details the increasing need that Australians have for high quality palliative and end of life care.

Eight years ago, 116,481 people aged 65 years and over passed away. 75% of those needed to use aged care services in the 12 months before their death.

The statistics also show that the older a person was when they passed away, the higher the likelihood that they needed and decided to access a service around the time of their passing.  

The need is great and what fuels the necessity of appropriate standards and reform in this area is the degree of vulnerability and fragility of those who are in need.

As age progresses, health, strength and resilience has a tendency to diminish, it is up to those in the sector to fight for their protection and quality of care.


A Rationale For Principles


The report highlights that in facilitating reliable access to high quality palliative and end-of-life care services in aged care facilities, and in people’s own homes, will benefit thousands of Australians in the intimate and personal time preceding passing away.

To afford older Australians the ability to have a good death, increased support for their families and carers during the end-of-life time and bereavement processes is not only a noble mission but one deeply human and entrenched in human rights.

Additionally in focussing on the best approaches to palliative care is to transparently call for the better allocation of scarce health resources.


The Principles


The report expresses eight principles that should be acted upon across the aged care sector at large.


  1. Consumers physical and mental needs at end-of-life should be acutely and thoroughly assessed and recognised
  2. Consumers, families and carers should be involved in end-of-life planning and decision making
  3. Consumers should receive equitable and timely access to appropriate end-of-life care within aged care facilities
  4. End-of-life care is to be holistic, integrated and delivered by appropriately trained and skilled staff
  5. The end-of-life care needs of consumers with dementia or cognitive impairment should be understood and met within residential aged care
  6. Consumers, families and carers should be treated with dignity and respect
  7. Consumers should have their spiritual, cultural and psychosocial needs respected and fulfilled
  8. Families, carers, staff and residents should be supported in bereavement


Powerfully the World Health Organisation defines palliative care:


“Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.”


It is in seeking to set of standards of quality and care for our most vulnerable, that we as a nation and society are able to do good for our neighbour, as well as fight for a better future for the coming generations.

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