OCAV contributes to national research into end of life care

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OCAV contributes to national research into end of life care

December 13, 2020

Liscombe House nurses Josephine Katite and Katrina Garnsey are taking part in national research into managing end of life better.

The research, funded through the Australian Government’s Department of Health and led by the University of Technology in Sydney, has involved the development of a digital dashboard to support care monitoring and reporting.

The End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) dashboard includes information, guidance and resources to health professionals and aged care workers to support palliative care and advance care planning to improve the care of older Australians.

Jo and Katrina are among a handful of aged care nurses involved in the research, and specifically providing feedback about ELDAC and whether it meets the needs of aged care nurses.

ELDAC came about because Australians are living longer and as a result are also dying older. As people age they are more likely to use aged care services. This has implications for health professionals and the aged care workforce who provide care to older Australians as well as for aged care services and organisations.

As Jo explained: “Managing end of life issues requires not only clinical knowledge and skills appropriate to the person’s needs but an awareness of their wishes and preferences.”

OCAV provides a landmark palliative care service. Last year 20 residents were palliated at Liscombe House. According to Katrina, the high number was due to residents choosing to ‘pass at home’ rather than in a hospital.

“We offer a person centred care service throughout a resident’s time with us at Liscombe House. We know everyone and their families well, and when it comes to palliation, we take pride in how we can help everyone,” she said.

Part of that pride comes from nursing staff going through intense training with Banksia Palliative Care Services, Program of Experience in the palliative Approach (PEPA) at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre.  The past year has included how to manage palliation during COVID-19.

The Liscombe House palliative care program attracted philanthropic funding last year from the Marion and E H Flack Trust which enabled OCAV to buy specialised beds and syringe drivers. The specialised beds are fitted with an air mattress to provide comfort and pressure relieving strategies at the same time. Syringe driver used to deliver a continuous 24 hour medication to alleviate pain and ensure comfort.

“We are always looking at ways to continuously improve our care,” Jo said.

She said that OCAV’s contribution to ELDAC was important not only to inform the research about the Association’s approach to end of life care but also to learn.

Jo and Katrina will have in-depth interviews with researchers to ensure the dashboard meets the needs of nursing care staff and for researchers to learn more about what nurses need in relation to end of life care.

“We hope that our contribution will influence both the content and future designs, and make sure that all gaps are filled,” Jo said.

 

“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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