New online resource to provide evidence-based palliative care information

A new website will support older Australians and all those involved in end-of-life care in accessing important evidence-based palliative care information and resources.

PalliAGED provides easy and convenient access to information to support in the care of people approaching the end of their life.

The website was launched as part of National Palliative Care Week 2017 at Parliament House by Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt who said that PalliAGED will prove of immense value to the range of professions across the palliative care sector – and those they care for.

Minister Ken Wyatt

“The new PalliAGED website is both timely and hugely beneficial, because care for older people is becoming ever more important as the older Australian population grows in number.

“Last year, 15 per cent of the Australian population, or 3.7 million people were aged 65 and over. The number of people who will die each year will rise substantially over the next 50 years. 

“The proportion of older Australians is expected to grow – to 22 per cent or 8.7 million people by 2056 and to 24 per cent or 12.8 million by 2096,” Mr Wyatt said.

The online resource is funded by the federal government and managed by Flinders University through the CareSearch website.

Working with experts, members of primary care, aged care and palliative care sectors, the CareSearch Project Team collated information and research from around the globe to provide users of PalliAGED with a link between evidence and the care being provided to older Australians. 

PalliAGED online information hub is comprised of a wide range of palliative care research evidence on: new medications, medical practice, clinical decision making tools, models of care, advice on cultural and other considerations, symptoms and treatment decisions, risk analysis, ways to support patients and their families and public and consumer experience. 

National Palliative Care Week 2017

During National Palliative Care Week 2017 Australians were asked to think and talk about their own end-of-life care. 

A survey released by Palliative Care Australia during National Palliative Care Week showed that 85% of Australians believe it is important to have a conversation with family about end-of-life care but 66% of Australians have not had this conversation themselves.  

Palliative Care Australia also highlighted the importance of all Australians being able to access high-quality palliative and end-of-life care. Palliative and aged care consumer peak bodies, including Dementia Australia, supported this by agreeing to a set of principles to guide the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care services in residential aged care. 

The eight principles were developed collaboratively by: Palliative Care Australia, COTA Australia, Dementia Australia, Aged & Community Services Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, Aged Care Guild and Catholic Health Australia.

The principles reflect the need to recognise when an aged care resident is approaching the end of life and to ensure their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are assessed and met; that their care is holistic and that their dignity, privacy and diversity is respected. 

The peak bodies noted that approximately 75 per cent of people aged at least 65 years who die in Australia use aged care services in the 12 months before their death, yet relatively few access palliative care in residential aged care. 

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of people and their families associated with life-threatening illnesses by preventing and relieving suffering and recognising and treating pain and other problems, including physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

National Palliative Care Week 2017 had the theme ‘You matter, your care matters. Palliative care can make a difference’.

It is believed that implementing these principles and providing access to evidence based information and resources such as PalliAGED will make that difference. 

Access the PalliAGED website or read the eight principles for palliative and end-of-life care in residential aged care