Palliative Care recognised in Aged Care Royal Commission Recommendations
Compulsory palliative care training for workers, comprehensive sector funding that specifically includes palliative and end-of-life care, and a review of the Aged Care Quality Standards to require residential aged care providers to provide high–quality palliative care are among 124 recommendations handed down yesterday to the Aged Care Royal Commission.
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) has welcomed these recommendations as an important first step in ensuring palliative care is considered core business in aged care.
PCA has long argued palliative care must become an essential component of aged care in Australia if we are to ensure that the needs of older Australians are met.
Just last month PCA launched Palli8, an eight-point plan which proposes eight key recommendations to improve palliative care in Aged Care.
PCA Board Chair Professor Meera Agar said she is pleased to see that the critical importance of palliative care has been recognised, and that in fact many of the recommendations are in line with PCA’s own Palli8 plan.
“It is extremely pleasing to see that palliative care has not been overlooked. PCA and the sector more broadly has advocated strongly for many years, and again in recent weeks, for a much greater investment in palliative care, together with palliative care training for every health and aged care worker. Today’s recommendations are an important first step in realising the Palli8 plan,” Professor Agar said.
There is significant alignment between the recommendations and PCA’s Palli8 plan.
PCA’s Palli8 plan called for a person-centred approach to palliative care in aged care; a call that would be addressed by the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Recommendation 1 which advocates for the introduction of a new Aged Care Act with a focus on the universal right to high–quality, safe and timely support and care.
PCA also recommends that the Aged Care Quality Standards to include palliative care and for it to be clearly articulated and robustly implemented.
The Aged Care Royal Commission’s Recommendation 24: Urgent review of the Aged Care Quality Standards would require residential aged care providers to demonstrate their capacity to provide high quality palliative care, including staff capacity (number, skill and type), processes and clinical governance, for recognising deterioration and dying.
Recommendation 44: Dementia and palliative care training for workers advises that palliative care training should be a condition of approval or continued approval of aged care providers, directly reflecting Palli8’s third recommendation.
The recommendations to the Aged Care Royal Commission also included a call for Data governance and an aged care national Aged Care National Minimum data set, mirroring the Palli8 plan.
PCA CEO Rohan Greenland welcomed the recommendation.
“We can’t improve what we don’t measure. There’s too much about palliative care service delivery in aged care that we simply don’t know. Accepting the recommendation to the Commission for the development of a national minimum dataset to be overseen by the newly established Aged Care Commission would plug those gaps,” Mr Greenland said.