On Saturday, 6 May 2023, the North and West Metropolitan Region Palliative Care Consortium and North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) hosted an event called Communication, collaboration and coordination: The three Cs of palliative care in aged care.
Opened by Violet Platt, CEO of Palliative Care Victoria, and moderated by ABC broadcaster Jacinta Parsons, the full-day event brought together a range of speakers to take the audience on an aged care patient’s palliative journey.
Dr Aaron Wong, geriatrician and palliative medicine physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Austin Health, delivered the keynote address.
The 70 attendees, mostly multidisciplinary health professionals from across Melbourne’s north and west, heard informative presentations and engaging panel discussions from experts working in the sector, including in local hospitals, Ambulance Victoria, the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department, specialist and community palliative care services, general practice and aged care.
Following along with the patient story of ‘Betty’ throughout the day, participants looked at the palliative care system and how to better communicate and collaborate with service providers to coordinate optimal end-of-life care. This included identifying patient needs and understanding how and where to access resources.
The importance of care planning was particularly pertinent and was highlighted in several presentations, and question-and-answer discussions, with valuable input from Associate Professor Barbara Hayes, Clinical Lead for Advance Care Planning at Northern Health.
Three panel sessions generated great discussion with the audience about the realities, challenges and opportunities of working in this space. Local general practitioners Dr Helen Dooley and Dr Terence Ahern provided valuable insight and reflections on how health professionals in primary care can increase their knowledge and confidence in managing the palliative care needs of their patients.
(Image: Event presenters and organisers)
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with 100 per cent of respondents indicating that their learning outcomes and expectations were entirely or partially met.
Most said they would implement practice changes as a result, with many planning to utilise their increased knowledge of services, resources and referral pathways.
All respondents said they would recommend a similar event to a colleague, with many noting the great networking opportunities offered.
NWMPHN is using feedback to support planning for other education activities as part of the Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care program. If there are palliative care topics you would like covered in future sessions, please email Jen Francis, Lead – Older Adults and Palliative Care, email@example.com.
As part of its response to the program, NWMPHN has created a website, Precious Time, dedicated to supporting people with an end-of-life diagnosis, their families, friends and carers.
More information and resources