What is the palliative approach in aged care?
The Palliative Approach is focussed on supporting a person and their family in quality of life decisions once a chronic disease passes a ‘turning point’ in its trajectory.
The approach allows people to make their own choices about treatments which may affect their quality of life, as opposed to accepting treatments to prolong their life at all costs. The Palliative Approach is not about stopping care or all treatment, instead the approach recognises that many older people require increased care services towards the end of life due to illnesses that are life limiting. The approach ensures that a person and their loved ones have all the information they need to be involved in their treatment and care towards end of life.
The Palliative Care Approach also supports Advanced Planning and Advanced Care Directives in recognising that people have the right to optimum wellness in the last years/months of life. It is about wellness, wellbeing and comfort at a time when curative treatments have little effect. It can also empower the person and their loved ones to determine how they want to live at this time.
“Underlying the philosophy of a palliative approach is the view that death, dying and bereavement are all an integral part of life.”
Standards for Providing Quality Palliative Care for All Australians (May 2005, pg11)
Who receives Palliative Approach Care?
A palliative approach is appropriate for individuals with any life limiting illness and their families. Life limiting illnesses include cancer, chronic diseases such as heart, lung, kidney and liver disease, as well as stroke, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
There are many benefits to the Palliative Care Approach including:
- The approach provides a focus on active, comfort focused care and a positive approach to reducing suffering and promoting an understanding of the dying process, loss and bereavement.
- It works towards supporting the older person and their family though the last months or weeks of life within their own private home or residential aged care home.
- Specialist Palliative Care Services can also be called upon to support the Palliative Approach where symptoms are causing discomfort and concern.
- The approach aims to maximise total wellbeing by meeting the holistic needs of the person and their carer, by way of physical, cultural, psychological, social and spiritual care.
The Palliative Approach enhances the care already provided to care recipients and their families in aged care. It incorporates an ongoing discussion with care providers about everyday life decisions. These decisions may be as simple as adjusting the daily routine to suit reduced capacity, or more detailed such as whether to have a skin lesion removed or where to be cared for during illness or death.
It is about having all the information about a disease and its likely progression so that a person or their person responsible can discuss and make informed choices about care and treatment towards end of life. Thorough assessment, open communication and informed choices can improve a person’s quality of life, and are all integral to the Palliative Approach in aged care.
Wanting our assistance with your own or a loved ones care plans?
We have many staff trained in the Palliative Approach who can offer support and guidance, albeit within our Residential Care Homes or your own home if you or your loved one receive a Anglican Care HomeLife Home Care Package or are a HomeLife Day Support consumer. Planning ahead can bring you peace of mind.
Ask our friendly staff today for assistance or call our Customer Support Team on 1800 733 553. We are here to help.