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Right tools for the job: resource to help workers meet end-of-life needs

Health and aged care professionals who provide care to older Australians at end of life now have access to a new resource that aims to give them the right tools for the job.

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) includes five interactive toolkits providing up-to-date clinical evidence, learning opportunities and organisational tools.

The $15 million Department of Health-funded project is aimed towards workers in residential aged care, home care, general practice, primary health networks, palliative care services and allied health.

Project lead Professor Patsy Yates, from QUT, said it aims to reduce avoidable hospital admissions, shorten hospital stays, and improve quality of care for people in residential and community aged care settings.

"ELDAC is designed to increase understanding and awareness of advance care planning and specialist care in aged care, and to connect the various services so they could work together to improve palliative care," Yates said.

“It will equip care providers to give high-quality, end-of-life care in familiar surroundings with little or no need for hospitalisation.

ELDAC includes five interactive toolkits that help users to develop a plan and follow evidence-based recommendations or practices in aged care, home care, primary care, partnerships and legal and policy areas.

It also provides users with a free-call phone advisory service during office hours and a 24/7 web-based navigation service with state-specific information.

Pat Sparrow, chief executive of project partner Aged & Community Services Australia, said the resources will help GPs, nurses and other palliative and aged care workers manage in the best possible way what is a highly sensitive stage of life for older Australians and their families.

“These toolkits represent a practical and meaningful use of the insights into palliative care gathered through extensive consultation with professionals at the front-line of palliative care services, including aged care providers,” Sparrow said.

The consortium conducting the project also includes Flinders University, the University of Technology Sydney and partners Palliative Care Australia (PCA), Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and Catholic Health Australia (CHA).

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