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PCA welcomes palliative care focus in aged care program redesign

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) has welcomed The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s renewed focus on palliative care as part of a consultation paper that explores options for future design of aged care programs.

In releasing the paper, The Royal Commissioners, the Honourable Tony Pagone QC and Ms Lynelle Briggs AO, also invited submissions from interested individuals and organisations on the future design of the aged care system. (Submissions will be accepted until close of business on Friday, 24 January 2020.)

PCA CEO Rohan Greenland said he was greatly encouraged by references to palliative care and the needs of older Australians with ‘complex needs, a life-limiting illness or at the end of their life’ in the paper.

“As the Australian population rapidly ages, it is crucial that palliative care be considered core business in aged care,” said Mr Greenland.

“We are heartened by the sentiments expressed by the Royal Commissioners in the consultation paper and their explicit commitment to developing a new model that supports people to pursue and enjoy meaning and quality of life whether in their own home or a residential service.

“In particular we welcome the Commissioners’ acknowledgment that older Australians with ‘complex needs, a life-limiting illness or at the end of their life should have access to better clinical care within the aged care system’, and not suffer unnecessary transfers to hospital.”

“These sentiments are echoed in PCA’s detailed submission to the Royal Commission, and support our core belief that palliative care must be considered an integrated and essential part of care for all older Australians who need it, regardless of their primary diagnosis, location or aged care setting.”

“I would encourage individuals and organisations from across the sector to continue to engage with the Royal Commission and make submissions to help set the direction for the aged care we want now and into the future and ensure that palliative care is well considered.”

PCA’s submission highlights a range of systemic factors that impede the delivery of quality palliative care in aged care and makes 26 recommendations underpinned by the following key issues.

  • Palliative care should be core business for aged care.
  • Aged care policy should align with the World Health Organisation definition of palliative care.
  • Palliative care should not be restricted to ‘end of life’ or last days or weeks of life.
  • Australia’s aged care workforce needs support to make palliative care core business. 

Access the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s Consultation Paper 1 “Aged Care Program Re-design: Services for the future” and PCA’s Submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety online.

Read PCA’s full media release here

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