Learning about palliative care at Longridge

Recognising National Palliative Care Week (19 May - 26 May), Longridge hosted an information event with the goal of raising awareness and understanding for palliative care in the local community.

The event's attendees learned from local guest speakers and medical specialists, Dr Briony Harris, Louise McKay, and Bec Todd.

Dr Harris is a general practitioner, Ms McKay is a palliative nurse, and Ms Todd is a palliative care registered nurse.

The interactive forum discussed advanced care directives, palliative and end of life care, and all that is involved in this approach to care. Within the speaker's presentations they discussed palliative care, both in the community and in Longridge. There was also an overview of the the support services that are provided to patients, families and carers.

Palliative care, as defined by the World Health Organisation, is as follows:

'An approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering, by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems - physical, psycho-social, and spiritual.'

Longridge is committed to ensuring that their residents are provided all the options for high quality care.

In supporting this commitment to palliative care, Longridge has achieved a specialised palliative education grant of $20,000 through the national palliative care project ELDAC - End of Life Directives for Aged Care.

Longridge will be using this $20,000 to implement specialised training and skill development for their CARE staff, and offer places to carers from other regional sites.

Current palliative care training is available via a PEPA (Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach) program, and is only for registered and enrolled nurses. Longridge is keen to champion the role of the carer in the palliative care team.

This year's theme for National Palliative Care Week, 'what matters most', addresses the need for Australians to plan ahead for their end of life care.

It encourages people to start the important conversations to loved ones and health professionals when living with a limiting illness, or a progressive disease that cannot be cured.