Palliative care must become an essential component of aged care in Australia if we are to ensure that the needs of older Australians are met.

Palliative Care Australia’s (PCA) new Palli8 plan proposes eight key recommendations to improve palliative care in Aged Care, with calls for much-needed funding to fully implement the National Palliative Care Strategy 2018, together with palliative care training for every health and aged care worker.

The Palli8 plan was launched at an online Parliamentary Friends of Palliative Care Group event which explored the critical role of Palliative Care in Aged Care and brought together experts representing consumers, the aged-care industry, academia and palliative care.

Palliative Care Australia’s Palli8 plan calls for the following:
1. The aged care sector must adopt a person-centred and holistic approach to palliative care, which does not focus solely on the last days of life.

2. Palliative care must be robustly included as a standalone element of the Aged Care Quality Standards. The Standards should be altered such that they define what ‘good care should look like’ and include specific minimum competencies for palliative care.

3. Every health and aged care worker should undertake palliative care training as a core component of their studies. They should have the skills to recognise when care recipients need palliative care.

4. More needs to be done to measure and evaluate how older Australians receive palliative care. Planning and identifying unmet and emerging needs for palliative care requires demographic and service data.

5. Funding is needed to fully implement the National Palliative Care Strategy 2018, ensuring that aged care is included. Palliative care funding is a sound investment, providing a net return to society by saving on other expensive areas of health care.

6. Investment in, and development of, innovative models of care is required to ensure older people have equitable access to palliative care.

7. Death literacy across the community needs to be improved significantly to lift barriers to care and improve outcomes for patients requiring palliative care.

8. Palliative care must become a priority for all governments, which should be supported by the appointment of a National Palliative Care Commissioner.

You can read more about the plan and the recommendations on the Palliative Care Australia website here.