More SPACE for palliative care in Wide Bay

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

A newly-established Specialist Palliative Care in Aged Care (SPACE) service is providing people living in residential aged care facilities in Wide Bay with improved access to specialist palliative and end-of-life care.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said SPACE supports residential aged care staff and GPs to manage residents with complex palliative and end-of life care needs.

“Palliative care is not just about end of life, it’s about quality of life,” the Minister said.

“Everyone deserves timely access to quality care so they can live their life as fully and as comfortably as possible as they approach end of life, and in an environment where they feel most comfortable.

“SPACE will help to ensure aged care residents at the end of life receive the right care at the right place at the right time.”

SPACE is a nurse-led and referral-based partnership between Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS), residential aged care facilities and GPs, with input from our local primary health network.

Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari said a key aim of the service was increasing the capacity and capability of aged care staff and supporting GPs to deliver high-quality palliative and end-of-life care.

“In the WBHHS catchment alone, we have 33 accredited residential aged care facilities including four multipurpose health services, which are home to almost 2300 residents,” Mr Tantari said.

“As our population grows and ages, so too will the demand for palliative and end of life care in aged care.

“This program is about giving our aged care workforce the specialised education and support to allow them to confidently deliver coordinated care.”

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said: “The SPACE team is already receiving positive feedback from residents, GPs and aged care workers.

“Where it aligns with the resident’s wishes and where clinically appropriate, the program will also help to manage avoidable transfers to hospital, which in turn will allow us to maintain our hospital capacity for more acute cases.”

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said:

“The SPACE program will help guide discussions with residents about palliative and end-of-life care, with the aim of strengthening the skills and understanding of aged care staff.

“It will also provide case-based education for residential aged care staff on symptom and medication management, advance care planning, end-of-life care, and communication.

“SPACE marks an important expansion of local palliative care services which is exactly what the region needs.”

Funding for the SPACE program has been allocated by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Comprehensive Palliative Care in Aged Care measure.

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