Australian COVID-19 Palliative Care Working Group
Palliative Care Australia has formed the Australian COVID-19 Palliative Care Working Group (ACPCWG) in partnership with the Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM), Palliative Care Nurses Australia (PCNA), Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine (AChPM) of the Royal College of Physicians (RACP), End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC), Paediatric Palliative Care Australia and New Zealand (PAPCANZ), CareSearch, caring@home and the Australian Department of Health.
The impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of palliative care during 2020
This invite-only live-streamed event was hosted by ABC broadcaster, Dr Norman Swan and our Parliamentary Friends of Palliative Care Co-Convenors, Senator Catryna Bilyk and The Hon Nola Marino MP on 4 December 2020. This event was an opportunity to reflect on the issues that have emerged for palliative care during the pandemic and also the activities and issues addressed by the Australian COVID-19 Palliative Care Working Group. The video of this event is available below.
Dr Will Cairns OAM and Rachel Coghlan provided an understanding of the scope of challenges that a pandemic or disaster poses for the delivery of health services, in particular for palliative care.
Dr Norman Swan conducted interviews and Q & A with:
- Professor Meera Agar, Chair, PCA
- Professor Michael Kidd AM, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and Principal Medical Advisor, Australian Government Department of Health
- Associate Professor Mark Boughey, Director of Palliative Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and Safer Care Victoria Clinical Lead, Palliative Care Clinical Network
- Professor Liz Lobb, Professor of Palliative Care, Deputy Chair, Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute
- Janeane Harlum, President Palliative Care Nurses Australia (PCNA)
Professor Agar launched PCA’s outcomes paper Palliative Care and COVID-19: Grief, Bereavement and Mental Health. This paper provides recommendations for policy makers, health and aged care leaders and professionals, and consumers and carers to meet the mental health, grief and bereavement needs of Australians during the current pandemic and any future pandemics or disasters.
Reflecting on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and investing in strategic solutions will ensure that Australia is well equipped to manage the grief, bereavement and mental health challenges ahead.
ACPCWG-related updates and resources
- Palliative Care Australia Statement on COVID-19
- Integrating palliative care into COVID-19 planning: Authors Dr Will Cairns and Prof Meera Agar MJA InsightPlus 23.03.2020
- Planning for the dark side of the pandemic: Interview with Professor Meera Agar, Australian Financial Review 27.03.2020
- ACPCWG: COVID-19: Why palliative care matters!
- COVID-19: projecting compassion through the barrier of PPE: Author Rachel Coghlan, MJA InsightPlus [06.04.2020]
- Concerns for palliative care patients ‘robbed of dignity’: Interview on Radio 2GB with Professor Meera Agar [08.04.2020]
- Playing our part: the importance of practicing compassionate care for all: Opinion piece by ANZSPM, PCNA and Australian Allied Health in Palliative Care (AAHPC).
- Suffering, scared, alone and dying. Why the COVID-19 humanitarian response must include leadership in palliative care: Author Rachel Coghlan
- Palliative care during the COVID-19 pandemic: understanding the necessity for honest conversations and difficult decisions: Authors Dr Will Cairns and Rachel Coghlan
- Lockdown endgame: The implication for palliative care: Author Dr Will Cairns
- ‘I had the last hug’: palliative care workers lament the good deaths Covid took away: Author Sophie Black spoke to palliative care professionals, including Rachel Coghlan
The working group will be issuing regular e-newsletters as an additional communications vehicle to share updates and information.
- ACPCWG Newsletter #1 – 6 April
- ACPCWG Newsletter #2 – 15 April
- ACPCWG Newsletter #3 – 21 April
- ACPCWG Newsletter #4 – 28 April
PCA Submissions and Reports
- Senate Inquiry into the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – submission no. 450
– Senate Inquiry into the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – submission no. 450 attachment 1
- Submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on the impact of COVID-19 on Aged Care Services
Commonwealth Department of Health
- Regular COVID-19 updates and alerts
- COVID-19 videos, posters and print materials
- Translated resources available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Italian, Korean and Vietnamese
- Coronavirus Health Information Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Latest updates and alerts including technical guidance, myth busters and research updates
National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce
Health professionals and aged care workers
- Resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and healthcare managers
- Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA): National Guidelines for the Prevention, Control and Public Health Management of COVID-19 Outbreaks in Residential Care Facilities in Australia (PDF)
- Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC)
- Work attendance and testing for health and residential aged care workers
- COVID-19 newsletter for GPS
- RACPGP: COVID-19 Information for GPs
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing symptoms (including at the end of life) in the community, NICE guideline [NG163] 03.04.2020
Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) and CareSearch have collated a series of resources specifically for health care professionals working in palliative care.
- WHO training video on caring for patients with COVID-19
- Australian Government Department of Health Online COVID-19 infection control training for all health care workers: This training is for care workers across all health care settings, including: allied health; aged care (both in residential aged care facilities or with visiting carers at home, including cleaners and cooks); Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services; dental practices, including dentists, nurses, cleaners and receptionists; disability (both in residential/shared care facilities or part-time carers in people’s homes, including cleaners and cooks); hospitals; pharmacies; and primary care
- Older Person Advocacy Network (OPAN) webinars: COVID-19: What it means for people in aged care
Grief and Bereavement:
- The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement has published a series of excellent resources for practitioners and the general public on topics relating to grief and bereavement during COVID-19 including Funeral Support and Physical Distancing; Living in Uncertain Times; Social Support and Bereavement during the COVID-19 Outbreak; and Supporting Children during COVID-19.
- Spiritual Health Association COVID-19 updates for spiritual care managers, coordinators and practitioners.
- Meaningful Ageing Australia – Ideas for spiritual care from leading organisations
- Palliative Care in the COVID-19 Pandemic Briefing Note Interprofessional Spiritual Care in the Time of COVID-19
Key Articles and Research
- Characteristics, symptom management and outcomes of 101 patients with COVID-19 referred for hospital palliative care Article in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
- The key role of palliative care in response to the COVID-19 tsunami of suffering Article in The Lancet