See the full story by Rod Bennett in the Manly Daily 8th August 2017.

Northern Sydney aged-care facilities will be first in Sydney to receive the benefits from a program to improve palliative care.

One third of aged-care homes in the area have signed up for the program which will see staff educated and trained to better meet the needs of people in end-of-life scenarios.

Clinical nurse consultant and project head Kelly Arthurs, of Frenchs Forest, said that all too often the final moments of someone’s life was in the emergency ward of a hospital.

“Surrounded by people they don’t know in an unfamiliar environment,” she said. “The grief of these families is complicated by the knowledge of way their loved one’s life ended.”

She said patients were often rushed to hospital because many of staff in nursing homes were not supported or educated, in managing this kind of care.

Ms Arthurs said staff both in hospitals and aged-care facilities were “frustrated” at the situation.

“Staff were saying to me they wanted to improve care,” she said. “They wanted to be better educated, better assisted and better supported.”

Now, for the first time, a grant by Sydney North Primary Health Network issued to HammondCare has provided Ms Arthurs and her team with the means to train nursing home staff to meet the needs of these patients.

Its main benefits will be to reduce unplanned hospital admissions and improve timely access to specialist care.

Ms Arthurs visited 31 aged-care facilities on the northern beaches and said that in the Northern Sydney Health Area there were 120 such facilities.

“This grant was offered to all northern Sydney aged care providers,” she said. “A third of all these nursing homes have applied to be part of this project. That’s an overwhelming response.”

She added the need to upskill staff was not required in all aged-care homes.

“When it gets to this stage (of one’s life), it is better that people with palliative needs are cared for by those who know them, in a homely, friendly environment, somewhere they can receive optimal care,” she said.

Pic: Kelly Arthurs talking with carer Pete Burke (AAP Image / Julian Andrews).