The organisation is happy the Royal Commission has identified palliative care as an issue in the sector that has to be looked into during the hearings.
Palliative Care Australia Chief Executive Officer, Rohan Greenland, says “It’s very pleasing to see the Royal Commission has identified the access and quality of palliative care in aged care as a topic for inquiry.
“Palliative Care Australia has long been raising issues about how palliative care is supported to be provided in aged care, both in residential and home settings. There are a number of structural and policy-based issues that contribute to the lack of understanding and attention given to palliative care in aged care.
“These impact on individuals, families, aged care staff and the broader community’s experiences and perceptions of aged care, death and dying, as well as the rates of avoidable or unnecessary hospital admissions, increased costs across systems and sectors, and grief and bereavement support.”
Palliative Care Australia has been working with State and Territory members, specialist palliative care and aged care sectors to prepare a full submission to the Royal Commission.
The organisation says it has a lot of examples and experiences available to show the need for better support palliative care in Australia.
Around 60,000 Australians die accessing aged care each year, Palliative Care Australia believe this is inadequate and the Aged Care Quality Standards need to include a standard or requirement referring to palliative care, which it currently doesn’t.
Palliative Care Australia also wants a priority around home care services delivering support for palliative care.
Mr Greenland says, “Currently access to Commonwealth funded home care supports are hampered due to poor understanding of palliative care, inconsistent assessment for Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and Home Care Packages (HCP), waiting times for HCPs and interface issues with state/territory funded specialist palliative care services.
“The current wait times for HCPs mean that many people requiring additional support to meet their palliative care needs are dying before they are able to get the services they need to stay in their own homes if this is what they choose.
“Improving the quality of life and death for older people with a life-limiting illness is a goal PCA shares with the aged care sector. We look forward to these issues being explored at the Royal Commission hearing.”