Supporting advance care planning in residential aged care

In News by Jodie McHarry

Residential aged care providers play a key role in advance care planning, and support is available to assist providers to improve the quality, safety and care of older Queenslanders. The Supporting Advance Care Planning in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) project is funded by the Australian Government and is a collaboration between the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN and the Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative, to improve the quality of advance care planning (ACP) support to residents of aged care facilities. 

As part of the project, a series of face-to-face advance care planning education workshops have been delivered across the Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland and Wide Bay. 

Jennifer Bearham, Specialist Palliative Care in Aged Care (SPACE) nurse, based in Rockhampton who participated in the workshops said, “I credit these workshops with giving me the grounding and confidence to support and champion ACP in my work.” 

The initial ACP face to face education workshops were followed by six virtual education sessions on relevant topics. To further support RACFs, a comprehensive ACP Train-the-Trainer Guide has been developed. This resource assists RACFs to provide quality end-of-life care in line with accreditation standards and embed ACP as part of routine clinical care. 

Through the workshops and connections created as part of the Supporting ACP in RACFs project, participants have been able to collaborate with the PallConsult team. PallConsult staff provide support to local healthcare teams to improve patient-centred palliative care, particularly in rural and remote Queensland. This is achieved by providing advice and support via a 24/7 phone hotline for health professionals and providing tailored education sessions and resources for RACFs about ACP and palliative care. 

Paige Martinez, Manager, Older Person’s Health and Palliative Care, Central Queensland, Wide Bay Sunshine Coast PHN said, “The Supporting ACP in RACFs project has provided a practical approach to build ACP capacity for health professionals working in RACFs across the Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland, and Wide Bay region”.  

“The project focuses on ensuring resident centred end-of-life care and quality advance care planning is supported and prioritised within RACFs and that RACF staff know what services are available to support their residents. Good-quality palliative care can positively impact the dying person, their family and even the staff caring for them,” she said 

The Supporting ACP in RACFs project and teams including PallConsult, RaSS (Residential Aged Care Facility Acute Care Support Service) and GEDI (Geriatric Emergency Department Intervention) bring health professionals, resources and processes together that help to improve end-of-life-care and advance care planning within the residential aged care setting.  

Further information regarding the Supporting ACP in RACFs project can be found on the PallConsult website: https://metrosouth.health.qld.gov.au/pallconsult