The Australian Government is investing $57.2 million to improve palliative care in aged care facilities across Australia.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, says the funding will help reduce the physical and emotional distress for individuals who require palliative care and their families.
It is expected the injection of funds will be matched by State and Territories, with South Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory governments already signed up.
It comes ahead of National Palliative Care Week across Australia which starts today.
“This investment will assist senior Australians nearing the end of their life in residential aged care to receive quality palliative care,” Minister Colbeck said.
“We know how important palliative care is in supporting a person’s physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs.
“This funding will help reinforce the measures in place provide a high level of care during what can be a tremendously difficult time.”
Minister Colbeck said during National Palliative Care Week it was important to focus on how vital the service was for communities and the efforts of the highly professional health workforce who delivered it.
Under the signed agreements, the Commonwealth has committed funding of more than $3.8 million to South Australia, $925,000 to the ACT, $5.7 million to Western Australia and $396,000 to the NT.
In principal agreements are in place for remaining States including Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland which have all indicated they will commit funding.
“The States and Territories will implement a range of approaches to improve models of care for palliative care in residential aged care facilities,” Minister Colbeck said.
“This could include the recruitment of palliative care nurse practitioners, the training of aged care workers in palliative care, and engagement with hospitals to address the palliative care needs of patients in residential aged care.
“Research shows palliative care intervention is linked to substantial reductions in the length of hospital stays, fewer hospital admissions and enables people to die in their place of choice.
“Caring for people at the end of life is one of the most important things we can do and this is another step by the Commonwealth to ensure the process is supported.”