Aged care palliative care program underway

A new program that aims to improve palliative and end-of-life care for aged care residents has received almost $9 million in Federal funding.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck announced the funding last week as part of a $56 million commitment to improve end-of-life and palliative care for older Australians. It is also part of the government’s response to the aged care royal commission.

It includes $8.9 million over three years for the University of Wollongong’s Australian Health Services Research Institute to establish the Palliative Aged Care Outcomes Program (PACOP).

PACOP aims to significantly improve the outcomes of residents who are approaching end of their life by providing a consistent and nationally agreed framework to drive provider, policy and system-level improvements in palliative and end-of-life care.

Professor Claire Johnson has been appointed PACOP’s inaugural director to lead the program.

Professor Claire Johnson

Professor Johnson, who was most recently the clinical lead for end-of-life care at Eastern Health in Melbourne and held the Vivian Bullwinkel chair of Palliative Care Nursing at Monash University, has a strong background in primary care.

She said the program was important because 60,000 residents died each year.

“Whether it’s recognised or not, a huge amount of the care in that last period of life is being provided by aged care providers. To ensure that there is equitable access to good end-of-life care, we need to make sure that people in aged care homes have access to really good quality care, similar to people who are in the home or people who are out in hospital,” Professor Johnson told Australian Ageing Agenda.

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