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Palliative care projects welcome funding boost

More than $60 million in funding has been provided by the Government for new projects that aim to improve the quality and access to aged care.

The need to focus on palliative care as Australia’s population ages is on the increase (Source: Shutterstock)
The need to focus on palliative care as Australia’s population ages is on the increase (Source: Shutterstock)

The funding, announced by Minister for Health Greg Hunt, includes $45.4 million for 12 projects through the National Palliative Care Projects grants initiative, and an additional $15 million over three years from 2017-18 for the National Specialist Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning and Advisory Services project.

Minister Hunt says the National Specialist Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning and Advisory Services project will help improve the palliative care skills and advance care planning expertise of health professionals working with older Australians, while the 12 projects will help people on their final journey, and their families, with end-of-life care.

“The people that provide care to our loved ones, as they approach the end of their life, are doing a hugely important job and deserve quality training and support,” he says.

“These new announcements highlight the Turnbull Government’s commitment to this important part of the health care continuum.”

Among the projects receiving funding is South Australia’s Flinders University, who will receive more than $8 million of the 2017 National Palliative Care Program.

Dean of Research at Flinders University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences Professor Jennifer Tieman says the CareSearch program has been awarded $7.85 million in total through several projects.

The University says the funding comes at a time when palliative care demand in australia has widened, along with public discussion around making provisions for end-of-life-care; adding that while the need for palliative care can affect people at any age, Australia’s ageing population and a rise in chronic and incurable illness has seen an increase in palliative care service provision.

“There is an increasing need to focus on palliative care as Australia’s population ages,” Professor Tieman says.

“Our research will move into new areas, and expand the range of evidence based information we can provide about palliative care to patients, families, people working in residential aged care and community aged care, primary care staff and health professionals working in hospitals and palliative care services.

“The leadership in palliative care research at Flinders University will continue to grow, offering support for those who need end-of-life care and those who work with palliative care patients.”

Some of the additional projects receiving the $45.4 million in funding include:

  • Palliative Care Australia ($5.5 million) to continue its sector leading work promoting quality end-of-life care for all;
  • University of Wollongong ($7.8 million) for the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration, which supports palliative care providers to measure the impact of their service delivery for people with a life-limiting illness;
  • Queensland University of Technology ($12.0 million) for the Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative, which builds the capability and capacity of the health workforce to provide quality palliative care;
  • Flinders University in South Australia to continue CareSearch ($3.6 million), an online resource that provides evidence and palliative care information for health professionals and consumers; and
  • Austin Health for Advance Care Planning Australia ($4.1 million) to increase awareness and uptake of advance care planning nationally.

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