Home | Clinical Focus | Palliative care experts join forces to bolster end-of-life care during crisis

Palliative care experts join forces to bolster end-of-life care during crisis

A group of palliative care experts from across Australia and New Zealand are coming together to bolster the Australian response to COVID-19 and provide the best end-of-life care possible during this once in a lifetime pandemic.

The Flinders Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying CareSearch team has joined forces with the Australian Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Palliative Care Working Group (ACPCWG), supporting nationwide preparation in the event of rapid COVID-19 spread and mortality.

CareSearch director and Flinders University Professor Jennifer Tieman said this expertise could be vital and access to online resources will be key.

“In a rapidly changing environment, families, GPs and aged care providers may need to recognise and respond to the needs of a wide range of people, including those already in palliative care, those with progressive chronic diseases – as well as patients who are seriously ill as a result of a COVID-19 infection,” she said.

CareSearch has joined the working group to provide evidence-based online palliative care resources and expertise in the country’s response to the pandemic. 

Led by Palliative Care Australia, the ACPCWG is a partnership of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM), Palliative Care Nurses Australia (PCNA), Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine (AChPM) of the Royal College of Physicians (RACP), End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC), Paediatric Palliative Care Australia and New Zealand (PAPCANZ), CareSearch and [email protected]

CareSearch has developed an online resource and information hub specially curated for health professionals, care staff, and Australians with terminal illness and their carers and families.

Tieman said the hub aims to keep frontline workers informed and help them make the best decisions on issues such as caring for the dying, communication, medicine management, ethics and self-care.

“Most people with COVID-19 infection experience mild illness and recover. But for some people severe infection with COVID-19 can be life threatening,” Tieman said.

“This entails supporting all our health professionals and care staff across all settings, and all Australians with life-limiting illness, their carers, and families.”

The hub also provides information for patients, carers and families in the high-risk age group of 70 years and over, people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions, people with compromised immune systems, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50.

“CareSearch has always been proactive in supporting people at the end of life and those who care for them. During this challenging time, we remain focused on enabling our health professionals and the wider community to make informed decisions,” Tieman said.

Click here to access the CareSearch COVID-19 information hub.

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