Older Australians to benefit from new centre to improve end of life care

Palliative Aged Care Outcomes Program launched by UOW

Older Australians to benefit from new centre to improve end of life care

The Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) at the University of Wollongong (UOW) launched an innovative new program to improve end of life care for older Australians today (Tuesday 15 November 2022).

The Palliative Aged Care Outcomes Program (PACOP) is AHSRI’s newest outcomes centre. The program was established in November 2021 after the Federal Government awarded AHSRI $8.9 million in funding over three years.

National Director of PACOP Professor Claire Johnson said the new program provides a consistent and nationally agreed framework for residential aged care to drive resident, provider, policy and system-level improvements in palliative and end of life care.

“Approximately 60,000 people living in residential aged care homes die each year and this accounts for more than one in three people who die in Australia,” Professor Johnson said.

“PACOP aims to improve the outcomes for all Australians in aged care homes, with a particular focus on those who are approaching the end of their life.

“We’ve been trialling and refining PACOP’s framework and resources over the last 12 months and we’re now focusing on making the program available to more than 2,700 aged care homes throughout Australia.”

Professor Johnson said the feedback from aged care homes who have already adopted PACOP has been very positive.

“Aged care homes have told us that professional and non-professional staff are commenting on the program’s impact and how much it benefits residents,” Professor Johnson said.

“PACOP helps aged care homes to embed the use of standardised outcomes assessments and tools, and to use the information gathered to respond in a timely way.

“Teams have told us PACOP has been their roadmap and they appreciate having a set of national tools to go to in times of need.”

UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson welcomed AHSRI’s newest program.

“It is so important that people approaching the end of their life are treated with dignity and given the high-quality care that they need,” Professor Davidson said.

“The Palliative Aged Care Outcomes Program will draw on AHSRI’s extensive expertise and play a key role in improving the quality of palliative care in residential aged care throughout Australia.”

In the Australian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care’s recommendations, palliative and end-of-life care were concerns singled out for immediate attention.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue our work in this area beyond the initial pilot and look forward to demonstrating greater benefits and having a sustainable impact on this population as PACOP is implemented nationally,” Professor Johnson said.

AHSRI has extensive networks across the aged care and health sectors which provide a strong platform for the establishment and integration of PACOP into routine practice for people who are dying in residential aged care.

PACOP has benefited from being able to build upon the achievements of its sister outcome centre at AHSRI, the well-established and internationally acclaimed Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) which has contributed to significant improvements in palliative care in the acute and sub-acute areas of health.

Residential aged care facilities, organisations and individuals interested in knowing more about PACOP or who are interested in participating in PACOP are encouraged to look at the PACOP website

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