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This section will keep you up to date with news in the palliative care sector. Please note that the links below were current at the time of posting, however links may become obsolete as websites update their content.


August 2020

Royal Commission Releases New Research Papers

On August 24th the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released research papers prepared by the National Ageing Research Institute and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI):

These and all other papers are now available for download from the Royal Commission website.

PallConsult Queensland launches the NIKI T34TM syringe pump infusions learning package.

This best-practice learning package is tailored to health professionals delivering palliative and end-of-life care in all clinical settings across Queensland.

The learning package is available from www.pallconsult.com.au and includes:

Clinical Excellence Queensland resources to provide support and direction for bereaved family, friends, and carers.

Clinical Excellence Queensland has released a suite of resources to provide support and direction for bereaved family, friends, and carers. The resources provide useful information about preparing for the end of life of an adult family member or friend; what to do after someone dies; grief and loss; caring for self and others; a checklist of suggested tasks; and a comprehensive list of support services.

Resources include:

  • When someone dies: A practical guide for family and friends
  • During sad news and sorry business: Information for family (targeted to First Nations audiences)
  • Easy English bereavement resource
  • Translated bereavement resources: Arabic, simplified Chinese, Vietnamese
  • Compassionate care door signs

To access the resources and order printed copies visit the Care at End of Life bereavement support website.

Survey of nursing staff working in the Aged Care sector during  COVID-19

June 2020, Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation released their report National COVID-19 in Aged Care Survey- Final Report (8.18MB pdf), based on survey of nursing staff working across different aged care sector settings. Outcomes include staffing levels, preparedness, and infection control, as well as their concerns for this vulnerable population.

Notification of positive COVID-19 cases

The Department of Health has sent a reminder to all aged care service providers to immediately notify them of positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff. The notification is essential for the activation of Commonwealth support including rapid access to PPE from the National Medical Stockpile, case management, surge workforce support and supplementary pathology testing. Contact the Department via this email address.


July 2020

Royal Commission to examine evolving impact of COVID-19 on aged care

A Royal Commission hearing, 10 to 13 August 2020, will focus on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in aged care, and what can be learned from this experience for responding to future pandemics, infectious disease outbreaks or other emergencies. The hearing will be conducted virtually and accessible through live video streaming- external site on the Commission’s website. Transcripts will also be made available of the proceedings.

Consumer Perspectives on Palliative Care in WA – Patients and Carers

Researchers at the Perron Institute are currently seeking consumer views as part of an independent review of palliative care services in WA.
Whether or not you have used palliative care, if you fall into one of the categories below please visit https://perroninstitute.org/palliative-survey to learn more about the survey and to take part:

  • Current patients with a life-limiting illness
  • Family/friend carer of a person with a life-limiting illness
  • Family/friend carer of a person with a life-limiting illness who has died in the last five years (2015-2020)
    Survey closes 16 August

New research paper for the Royal Commission

July 23rd saw the release of a new research paper on behalf of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety: Research Paper 6 – Australia’s aged care system: assessing the views and preferences of the general public for quality of care and future funding. Research based on survey of more than 10,000 Australian adults reveals attitudes to care and how much people are prepared to pay for good quality aged care.

Royal Commission Releases New Consultation and Research Papers

June 24th saw the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety release a new Consultation paper 2: Financing Aged Care. This was then followed with the release in July of two new research papers:

  • Research Paper 5 - They look after you, you look after them: Community attitudes to ageing and aged care
  • Research Paper 4 – What Australians think of Ageing and Aged Care

All papers are now available for download from the Royal Commission website. 

Royal commission to extend into 2021

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will now deliver its final report by 26 February 2021 after being granted a 3-month extension. Submissions from the general public and organisations relating to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the aged care sector close on 31 July 2020.

New Service Compliance Rating for providers rolled out on My Aged Care

A new star-rating feature has been launched on My Aged Care to show a residential aged care facility’s level of regulatory compliance. The Service Compliance Rating is based on activities such as quality assessments and meeting quality and safety obligations. The performance of each residential aged care facility has a dot rating out of four with four dots means there were no areas for improvement identified in the most recent quality assessment.

Dementia Australia offering dementia communities of practice and online education

Dementia Australia is creating an online community of practice and offering education for people working in residential and community aged care with a shared desire to transform dementia care and improve practice. This is part of research project in collaboration with Swinburne University.

New online course in bereavement

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement has released a new online course: Effective Brief Contact. The course provides a simple framework and strategies that can be used to ensure effective bereavement support when only having brief contact with bereaved or grieving individuals.

Support for Victorian aged care services

The Department of Health has updated the national guidelines to prevent and control COVID-19 infection. A new factsheet is also available that outlines what to do in the first 24 hours of an outbreak at a residential aged care facility. 


June 2020

Update to the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19

The ‘Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19’ was reviewed and last updated on 3 July 2020. The Code creates a nationally consistent approach that ensures residents can receive visitors while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. Access the FAQs to help understand the code.

Free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Understanding Dementia starts 7 July

The Wicking Dementia Centre’s free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Understanding Dementia starts on Tuesday 7 July and is open to carers, health professionals and anyone else interested in dementia.

Helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers to share information, knowledge and experience of palliative care

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has recently added HealthInfoChat to its Yarning Places. Palliative care and end-of-life care is one of 21 chat groups which allows people providing care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with an active, progressive, advanced disease to connect with each other and ask questions or provide answers as they arise. It is free to join and able on all devices. 

Release of new AIHW palliative care data

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its palliative care data update: Palliative Care Services in Australia. This is an online report on the activity and characteristics of palliative care services across Australia.

Support for palliative care in COVID-19 World Health Assembly resolution

The 73rd World Health Assembly has included palliative care in its approved resolution 73.1 on COVID-19 (286kb pdf). The original draft (83kb pdf) proposal was forwarded by an international group including Australia.

South Australia announces recipients of the Palliative Care 2020 Grants Program

The South Australian government department of health and wellbeing has announced 15 recipients of funding under the Palliative Care 2020 Grants Program. The government received over 70 applications for the $1.4 million of available funds aimed at improving access to and diversity of palliative care services for South Australians.


May 2020

New economic report calls for increased investment in palliative care

A new KPMG report commissioned by Palliative Care Australia and the Snow Foundation was released on May 26th, 2020. The report: The economics of increased investment in palliative care in Australia, presents an economic case for integrating specialist palliative care into aged care facilities, hospitals and home based care. Key recommendations include calls for additional investment, an agreement between the Commonwealth and the states and territories, and a new full-time Palliative Care Commissioner.

PCA release statement. 

New investment to improve palliative care in aged care

On May 25th, 2020 the Australian Government announced that it will provide $57.2 million in funding to improve palliative care in aged care facilities across Australia. Matching of funding by State and Territory governments is expected. Read the full announcement for more.

Palliative Care and End of Life Care Advice Line

Now accepting calls

The Victorian Government has introduced a new advice service (396kb pdf) available to all Victorians where you can speak with a palliative care nurse or doctor about any aspect of a life-limiting illness.

The advice service will will operate from 7am to 10pm, 7 days a week through the Parkville Integrated Palliative Care Service. To contact the advice service call 1800 360 000.

Advance Care Planning Education Capability Framework

Advance Care Planning Australia has a launched a standardised, evidence-based Advance Care Planning Education Capability Framework to support the teaching of health and aged care professionals.

It is a flexible and adaptable resource that can be easily incorporated into existing curricula to supplement the teaching of subjects such as legal and ethical practice in healthcare, palliative care approach, emergency care, care planning, care of the older person, cancer care and more.

Public feedback sought for draft aged care visitor access code

A draft Visitor Access Code to ensure a nationally consistent visitation policy to residential aged care homes during the COVID-19 crisis has been released for public consultation. Aged care residents, families, families of choice, friends, and aged care providers and staff are all invited to send their comments by 3:00 PM on Thursday, 7 May 2020.

The draft code was developed by aged care peaks and consumer advocacy organisations and aims to apply a compassionate and consistent visitor policy that continues to minimise the risk of COVID-19 while providing innovative on-site visiting solutions to maintain the mental health of residents. A webinar for residents, families, and friends will be held on 6 May 2020. Visit the COTA Australia website for more information.


April 2020

Caring@home augmented support during COVID-19

Caring@home resources help at home carers manage breakthrough symptoms safely using subcutaneous medicines.To assist clinical service providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, caring@home have produced augmented  caring@home packages for carers. These include an Emergency COVID-19 pack to support home-based care and help limit risks of community COVID-19 transmission. These packages are funded by the Australian Government. Service providers can order the augmented caring@home packages online.

Dementia Information and Training

To assist health and aged care workforce feel well informed, safe, and educated during COVID-19, Dementia Training Australia has produced two new resources to help ensure people living with dementia receive high quality support.

Advanced Care Planning and COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and questions around advance care planning delivery at this time, Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) and the End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) program will host a series of webinars this month for the health and aged care sector audiences, including aged care, GPs and healthcare/hospitals.

The ELDAC webinar series will provide a Q&A style format for frontline staff with experts from the aged care and specialist palliative care sectors to explore a broad range of issues facing those working in the aged care sector.

The ACPA webinars will feature panellists including ACPA representatives and various sector experts and will cover; advance care planning priorities and actions required in the context of COVID-19 roles and responsibilities of the workforce and service providers in advance care planning during COVID-19. ACPA resources will be available for consumers, staff and service providers.

Registration is available at the ELDAC website for the seminar on the 30 April for End of Life Directions and Home Care.

Registration via the links for each of the ACPA seminars on the; 17th April COVID-19 and ACP Webinar for Healthcare & Hospital Services Professionals; for the 23rd April for COVID-19 and ACP Webinar for Aged Care and the 28th of April for COVID-19 and ACP Webinar for General Practitioners.

Further information and resources are available from the ELDAC and ACPA websites.

Home Care Providers Guide on COVID-19

The Department of Health has released its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guide for Home Care Providers. Intended for aged care providers who offer services to older people living at home, the guide provides information and guidance on how to stay safe from COVID-19.


March 2020

Guidelines for Management of COVID-19

The Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) have released National Guidelines for the Prevention, Control and Public Health Management of COVID-19 Outbreaks in Residential Care Facilities in Australia.

RACGP aged care clinical guide Part B released

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has released Part B of their aged care clinical guide. Covering General approaches to aged care the Part B of the guide includes sections on a range of topics including Principles of multimorbidity, Palliative care approach, and Advance care planning.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) health package announced

The Government has announced a health package designed to protect all Australians, including vulnerable groups such as senior Australians, from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

For the aged care sector, the package includes $101.2 million to:

  • Educate and train aged care workers in infection control and enable aged care providers to hire extra nurses and aged care workers for both residential and home care.
  • Make available additional aged care staff for deployment to facilities as needed, where an urgent health response is required and to provide extra support for staff and training.
  • Provide additional funding for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to work with providers on improving infection control.

Further information on the range of measures the Australian Government is taking to combat coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the department's website.

National Survey on End of Life Care

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has engaged HealthConsult to develop and deliver a national survey aimed at assisting healthcare workers to provide the services needed by people approaching the end of life. The survey will determine;

  • the tools used by healthcare workers to identify patients nearing the end of life
  • the extent to which these tools are used within different settings
  • the facilitators and barriers for using the tools.

All health care workers are invited to complete the national survey which will take 5-10 minutes to complete.

Consumer Engagement Resources

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has produced three separate documents titled 'Consumer Engagement Resources' on consumer engagement strategies and processes to assist aged care providers. The resources include 'Working with Aged Care Consumers – a Resource' designed to support providers to partner and engage with consumers to deliver consumer-centred care. The 'Consumer Engagement in Aged Care – Literature Review’ examines the broader literature, case studies, reports and guidelines to gain an understanding of existing models of co-design in Australia and internationally. The 'Consumer Engagement in Aged Care – Survey Report' describes the key themes and findings from online surveys of aged care consumers and aged care providers. Consumer Engagement Workshops will be provided in 2020.


February 2020

Psychotropic medications used in Australia – information for aged care

To assist understanding and use of psychotropic medications in the aged care sector the Australian Government Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has worked with University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre to develop a short reference resource. The seven-page booklet was released in February 2020 and is available for download from the Commission’s website.

Department of Health Palliative Care Workforce Survey

The Department of Health is inviting all aged care providers to participate in a survey that will support the analysis of Australia’s palliative care workforce and guide future planning for services. Closing date is on 13 March 2020. To participate or find more information, visit https://www.health.gov.au/news/palliative-care-workforce-survey.

National Trial of Pain Assessment Tool, PainChek

The Australian Government is funding a 12 month national trial of the PainChek app with residential aged care providers. PainChek is a is a smartphone based pain assessment tool which uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to assess and score pain levels. The app can be used with people who are unable to communicate, including those with dementia. The initiative promotes innovation in aged care, consistency of pain assessments and improved care outcomes. Aged care providers are being encouraged to complete an expression of interest to participate in the trial.

National Advance Care Planning Week

Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) is encouraging interested parties to host an event for National Advance Care Planning Week which will be held 23 – 27 March. Event hosts will be supplied with packs with an assortment of printed items to support their event. However stocks are limited so early registrations are encouraged. More information can be found here.

ACD Framework Review

Between June and August 2019 Nous Group (Nous) undertook work to understand the strengths and limitations of the 2011 National Framework for Advance Care Directives. The draft National Framework for Advance Care Planning Documents is now available for public consultation until March 31st, 2020. Nous welcomes written submissions on the framework from individuals, organisations or any other interested parties.


January 2020

Royal Commission Releases two New Research Papers

January 24th saw the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety release two new research papers: Review of International Systems of Long-term Care of Older People, and Review of Innovative Models of Aged Care. Both papers were prepared by Flinders University and are now available for download from the Royal Commission website

Aged care assessments can now be done online

The Department of Health has announced older persons and their appointed family member, friend, or carer can now apply for an aged care assessment online. This forms part of a series of recent updates to the My Aged Care website.
A new online assessment form is available on the My Aged Care website that allows older persons or someone acting on their behalf to:

  • register with My Aged Care
  • apply for their first assessment online.

The assessment form can now be completed in their own time as an alternative to calling the My Aged Care contact centre. 

Barriers to accessing quality palliative care for people from under-served populations or people with complex needs

In January 2020 the Australian Government Department of Health released a series of reports exploring the barriers to accessing quality palliative care for people from under-served populations or people with complex needs. Australian Healthcare Associates were engaged by the Department in 2018 to undertake the exploratory analysis including workshops held in major centres across the country. The 10 final reports are now available for download:

  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Summary Policy Paper
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on Care Leavers and People Affected by Forced Adoption
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on People with Disabilities
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on People Experiencing Homelessness
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on People who Identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on People who are Incarcerated
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on Refugees
  • Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care – Issues Report on Veterans

Single Aged Care Regulator

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is now the single regulator of aged care services and the primary point of contact for aged care providers and consumers for quality and safety matters.
The new aged care legislation took effect from 1 January 2020. The following functions have transitioned from the Department of Health to the quality and safety commission:

  • approval of all residential and home care providers
  • aged care compliance activity including prudential operations
  • the administration of compulsory reporting of assaults by approved providers

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has an important role to play in holding aged care providers to account for the provision of quality care as required under the Aged Care Quality Standards.
The changes equip the commission with a broader range of tools to drive improvements in aged care consumer experience and care outcomes. The quality and safety commission also have an important role in promoting consumer engagement, providing information and education, and seeking to resolve complaints about aged care providers.


December 2019

Royal Commission Consultation Paper 1 Program Design in Aged Care Released 

On December 6th, 2019 the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released consultation paper 1 which seeks to outline the Commissions' thinking about a future aged care system, including how programs might be redesigned and how these different program elements could work together within the system. Having outlined their thinking they now invite submissions on:

  • the principles to guide design of a new aged care system
  • options to create the best possible program, structures and system overall
  • how aged care supports, services and care can help older people have the best life possible
  • any other issues the Royal Commission needs to consider about system design under its terms of reference.

Submissions will be accepted until close of business on Friday, 24 January 2020.

ELDAC Digital Dashboard Calls for Expressions of Interest

ELDAC has developed a prototype Digital Dashboard focusing on end of life indicators. The dashboard enables basic data collection around processes relevant to end of life care and provides reporting functions relating to these processes and activities. ELDAC is now calling for expressions of interest from aged care IT providers to build an equivalent dashboard within their own system. Successful applicants will be provided with a payment of up to $20,000 for the purpose of installing the dashboard. The online EOI must be submitted no later than 11.00am Central Standard Time Friday 6 December 2019.

Palliative Care Australia Elects new Board Chair

At the Annual General Meeting and Board meeting, held November 2019, Palliative Care Australia (PCA) elected Prof Meera Agar, Professor of Palliative Medicine and a Professor at the IMPACCT (Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation) Centre at the University of Technology Sydney, as Chair of the PCA Board. Elected to the position of Deputy Chair was Helen Walker, Nurse Unit Manager of the Laurel Hospice at the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide, who also serves as the Deputy Chair of Palliative Care South Australia and Deputy Chair of the Laurel Palliative Care Foundation. Read the PCA media release for more.

Palliative Care Needs of those Living with Dementia

Dementia Australia and Palliative Care Australia have launched a suite of resources funded by the Department of Health. The resources are designed to ensure they meet the needs of people living with dementia. Dementia is the leading cause of leading cause of death for women in Australia, and the second overall. Dementia Australia launched a new discussion paper, Dying Well – Improving palliative and end of care for people with dementia (90kb pdf). A full set of the resources including the What Matters Most Discussion Starter pack, What Matters Most Discussion Cards and a Health and Aged Care Worker Facilitator Guide to assist workers to have these important conversations with older people, will be sent to all aged care providers. The full set of resources will soon be available to everyone on the Dying to Talk website.


November 2019

2018-19 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997

The 2018-19 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 is now available from the GEN Aged Care Data website. The report details the operation of Australia’s aged care system during the 2018–19 financial year and provides a snapshot of the system as a whole.

Royal Commission December Hearings

The Royal Commission for aged care will examine the interface between aged care and the health system at the public hearings being held in Canberra from Monday 9 December 2019 to Friday 13 December 2019. The hearings will include looking at; the challenges faced by people living in residential aged care services attempting to access health services; whether there is a need to improve access to primary health care services; whether it is necessary or desirable to improve how older people are transferred to and from aged care and hospitals and the sufficiency of access to state and territory funded palliative care services for people living in residential aged care.

Interim report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released an Interim Report setting out most of their findings to September 2019. The report highlights three areas requiring immediate action and major quality and safety issues including ‘patchy and fragmented palliative care for residents who are dying’. Submissions in response to the content of the Interim Report are invited until the end of April 2020. The Final Report will be handed to the Governor-General on 12 November 2020.


October 2019

Royal Commission New Background Paper Released

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released its eighth background paper A History of Aged Care Reviews. The paper provides an overview of the eighteen major public reports and inquiries related to publicly funded aged care Royal Commission into Aged care in Australia since 1997. The paper also looks at the government responses to each of these and includes Parliamentary committees, the Productivity Commission, the Australian Law Reform Commission and other independent reviews commissioned by the Australian Government.

General Practitioner new standards for Aged Care developed

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has developed Standards for General Practice Residential Aged Care (GPRAC) to assist GPs delivering care in aged care facilities and bridge gaps not covered by the Aged Care Quality Standards. The standards set out essential minimum requirements to support GPs to deliver quality and safe care and how facilities can meet criteria and indicators. The five standards cover; resident care coordination; infrastructure, equipment, consultation spaces and treatment room; information management; medication management and qualifications of the residential aged care team. RACGP has released the draft standards (1.11MB pdf) and is seeking feedback by 5 November 2019. The final standards are expected to be released by October 2020.

New Carer Resource Launched

CarerHelp is a new resource to support unpaid carers which was launched at Parliament House on Thursday, 17th October during National Carers Week 2019. CarerHelp was developed as part of the Australian Family Carer Toolkit Project which is a collaboration of the Centre for Palliative Care of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and The University of Melbourne; CareSearch of Flinders University, Carers Australia and The University of Technology Sydney. The new resource helps to prepare unpaid carers to care for a partner, parent, child or friend at the end of life. The website provides access to reliable information and resources about supports and services, understanding what to expect in the caring role, as well as information on symptoms, interactive resources and videos to empower carers to plan for the future.

Research Paper on Residential Aged Care Staffing Levels released

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a research paper on How Australian Residential Aged Care Staffing Levels Compare with International and National Benchmarks (817kb pdf). The report prepared by The Centre for Health Service Development, University of Wollongong outlines the analysis of international and national staffing profiles for residential aged care services in order to better understand how staffing can be improved in Australia. The report reviews the national and international staffing requirements for residential aged care services looking at the two broad approaches to determining staffing requirements, mandated minimum levels and specification of ‘appropriate’ (not minimum) levels. The analysis will contribute to a better understanding of the costs involved in delivering higher quality care through effective staffing levels in residential aged care facilities. On October 11, 2019 the Royal Commission also released a number of submissions related to diversity in aged care. 

Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme launched

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and the Property Council of Australia have launched the new Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme (ARVAS) which will be operated by an independent accreditation provider Quality Innovation Performance. The scheme will support new the Retirement Living Code Conduct (349kb pdf) released in December 2018. All retirement villages operators are being encouraged to register to become accredited. The new ARVAS Standards are person centred and include standards related to care and personal services as many villages are now providing care related services to residents.

Physical and Chemical Restraints in Aged Care

The Australian Safety and Quality Commission has released Scenarios involving Physical and/or Chemical Restraint (512kb pdf) to help providers understand the issues and responsibilities around minimising the use of restraints. The scenarios provide a range of case examples to illustrate the issues and explore what can be defined as physical or chemical restraint. The scenarios also outline the need for ongoing assessment and monitoring and documentation.

RACGP updated Aged Care Clinical Guide

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released the fifth edition of the ‘Medical Care of Older Persons in Residential Aged Care Facilities’ publication commonly known as the Silver Book. The new edition has been retitled to the ‘RACGP Aged Care Clinical Guide’ (Silver Book) to reflect the increasing prevalence of older people choosing to live in the community or remain in the community for longer as they age. The guide will have three interconnected parts covering; common clinical conditions in aged care, general approaches to aged care and organisational approaches to aged care. The guide will be released as an online resource only to ensure regular updates can be undertaken and the information can remain up to date and relevant.


September 2019

ELDAC releases new clinical tools

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) has identified twelve clinical tools that can be used to help recognise end of life and assess palliative care needs for older Australians and their caregivers. ELDAC aims to support the aged care sector by providing information and toolkits for palliative care and advance care planning, and by facilitating linkages between aged care, palliative care and primary care. Clinical tools assist in reliable assessment and interpretation of clinical information which supports the decision-making process. ELDAC have also developed a printable A4 Factsheet (125kb pdf) as a guide on which tool to use to measure specific symptoms. Find out more about the Common Clinical Tools at www.eldac.com.au

Dementia Focus

World Alzheimer's Month is held each year in September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. Dementia Australia is collaborating globally to raise awareness about the needs of people living with dementia. As part of this year’s campaign a World Alzheimer’s Report 2019: Attitudes to Dementia report has been released which analyses findings of the world’s largest survey on attitudes to dementia. Key findings include; Almost 80% of the general public are concerned about developing dementia at some point, and 1 in 4 people think that there is nothing we can do to prevent dementia; over 50% of carers globally say their health has suffered as a result of their caring responsibilities even whilst expressing positive sentiments about their role and almost 62% of healthcare providers worldwide think that dementia is part of normal aging.

General Practice Report Launched

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has launched its ‘General Practice: Health of the Nation’ report which draws on specifically commissioned research, information from the MABEL (Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life) Survey and a range of government publications, to provide a unique overview of the general practice sector. The report states doctors provided over 5.5 million Medicare services in residential aged care facilities in 2018-19. GP’s are an important component of quality care for aged care consumers and one in seven doctors worked in aged care facilities in the previous month (14 per cent), according to a survey of 1,174 general practitioners (GP’s) in May 2019 published in the report.

Royal Commission into Aged Care

The government has announced an extension of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety until October 2020. A new commissioner the Hon Gaetano (Tony) Pagone QC has also been appointed. The next round of the Commission’s public hearings will commence 7 October 2019 in Melbourne and focus on Diversity in Aged Care including culturally and linguistically diverse people, LGBTI groups, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, care leavers, veterans, and the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.

New Spiritual Care resources

September 20, 2019 Meaningful Ageing Australia will launch a new guidebook to assist community aged care providers to introduce a spiritual care program. Based on the Catholic Healthcare program, 'The Space Between: Implementing spiritual care in community aged care' is available for free to members of Meaningful Ageing Australia

Palliative Care Services in Australia

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released the latest report on Palliative Care Services in Australia. The online report is on the activity and characteristics of Palliative Care services across Australia. Data is presented under specific topic areas and includes hospital, primary care, aged care, workforce and outcome information. Highlights from the 2017-2018 data included; of the 242,000 permanent aged care residents, 1 in 50 residents had an Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) appraisal indicating the need for palliative care and 51.6% of all hospitalisations in which the patient died, the patient had received palliative care.

Webinar: End of Life Law for Clinicians

End of Life Law for Clinicians is offering a free online webinar on Wednesday 9 October 2019. The webinar will explore end of life law in the context of a clinical case study about an older person in residential aged care. RSVPs will close on Monday, 7th October 2019.


August 2019

New funding to reduce hospitalisation includes palliative care-related initiatives

On August 26th, 2019 the Australian government announced an investment of $11.7 million to keep Australians out of hospital. This includes projects for Early Detection of Deterioration in Elderly Residents of aged care facilities, and Implementation of Early Palliative Care in routine practice for people with advanced cancer.

National Framework for Advance Care Directives Review

The Australian Government Department of Health is undertaking a review and update of the National Framework for Advance Care Directives (2011). The review is being conducted to ensure end-of-life care practices are similar across all states and territories The Nous Group are undertaking the review and are conducting a survey to understand stakeholders’ opinions on the current ACD Framework. The consultation and survey takes under five minutes to complete and can be completed via sli.do, and entering 'ACD' in the event code box.

Provide feedback on aged care system navigation

Australian Healthcare Associates (AHA) is currently evaluating the Aged Care System Navigator Measure (the Measure) for the Department of Health. The Measure has been introduced to assist and guide older Australians and their families to better understand and access the aged care system. The Measure is aimed particularly at vulnerable people or those facing barriers to accessing aged care services. AHA has developed a discussion paper (607kb pdf) on existing system navigator models outlining proposed design principles, components and considerations for implementation of aged care system navigator models in Australia. Feedback is now being sought on the discussion paper to inform the evaluation of the Measure and contribute to the aged care system navigation policy direction.

Patient Carer and Families Booklet

CareSearch has launched a new booklet for Patients, Carers and Families (1.01MB pdf). The booklet is an easy to understand introduction to palliative care and includes information on what to expect and what to ask your health care team. Addressing the need for information to inform care decisions, the booklet is designed to prompt conversations between patients, carers and families and their health care team. Copies of the booklet can be ordered from CareSearch Resources.

Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has now released the second edition of the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. The new Charter empowers consumers to take an active role in their health care and reflects an increased focus on person-centred care. The Charter was developed in collaboration with healthcare providers, consumer groups and patients. The charter is supported by a range of accessible and translated resources to ensure as many people as possible understand their healthcare rights. The resources are available at safetyandquality.gov.au/your-rights

New Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Background Paper

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a new background paper: Legislative Framework for Aged Care Quality and Safety Regulation (245kb pdf). All the papers are available for download on the Commission’s website.


July 2019

New Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Background Paper

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a new background paper: Carers of Older Australians (459kb pdf). All the papers are available for download on the Commission’s website.

New resources on embedding Spiritual Care in Aged Care

A series of Department of Health funded short films unpacking spiritual care (97kb pdf) in the new Aged Care Quality Standards have been launched from Meaningful Ageing Australia. The films give tools and direction to aged care providers, carers and executives.

The Royal Commission Community Forum in Adelaide

The Royal Commission into Aged Care, Quality and Safety has announced details of a Community Forum in Adelaide. The Forum will take place from 1.30 to 4pm on Monday 12 August 2019, at the Auditorium, Adelaide Town Hall, 128 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000.

For further information, go to the Royal Commission’s Community Forums page.

NSQHS Standards Aged Care Module Consultation

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is seeking feedback on the draft National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards Aged Care Module. The module has been developed to assist organisations to meet the requirements of both the NSQHS Standards and the Aged Care Quality (ACQ) Standards by assessment to one set of standards.

Feedback on the module can be made by 9th August 2019 through a NSQHS multiservice survey delivered by SurveyMonkey. Survey feedback is preferred however written submission will also be accepted. Written feedback and queries can be emailed to NSQHSStandards@safetyandquality.gov.au.

Open Disclosure framework and guidance

Open disclosure is the open discussion that an aged care provider has with people receiving aged care services when something goes wrong that has harmed or had the potential to cause harm to a person receiving an aged care service.

A document detailing a new Aged Care Open Disclosure Framework and Guidance is now available to support providers. 

Aged Care Quality Indicator Program

The National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program is now mandatory from 1 July 2019 for all Government funded aged care services. The Quality Indicators measure aspects of service provision which contribute to the quality of care for senior Australians and are used by providers as part of continuous improvement. The program comprises three clinical quality indicators-pressure injuries, use of physical restraint and unplanned weight loss. The Department of Health has developed guidance information for aged care services to support providers to meet the requirements of the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program.

New regulations on restraint use in aged care

From July 1st residential aged care providers will have specific responsibilities regarding restraint use. Physical or chemical restraint must be a last resort and providers will need to satisfy conditions prior to restraint use. These include an assessment by an approved health practitioner (for physical restraint) or assessment by a medical practitioner who has prescribed the medication (for chemical restraint). Informed consent of the consumer or their representative will be required unless restraint is required in an emergency. The Department of Health has released a Decision Making Toolkit to support providers implement a restraint free environment and the Aged Care Safety and Quality Commission has a Self-Assessment Tool to assist in minimising the use of restraints.


June 2019

End of Life Directions for Aged Care free workshops

Starting in July 2019, a series of workshops will be run across Australia for residential and home care managers, nurses and care workers. The workshops are free to attend and are hosted by the End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) project, a national project funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to improve palliative care and advance care planning for older Australians. To download the workshops flyer and register now on the ELDAC website.

My Age Care launching a new website

The new My Aged Care website and enhanced service finder will soon replace the current website.

Service providers are advised that although there are new re-directs in place they are encouraged to update your bookmarked pages once the site is made live to reflect the changes. The website address will remain the same but advise some url links on websites or in printed materials may need updating.

The Charter of Aged Care Rights Resources

The Charter of Aged Care Rights (the Charter) online resources are now available to support the sector’s understanding of the new Charter. The resources include a booklet outlining the Charter and a Charter of Aged Care Rights poster designed to be displayed and promoted by organisations.

The resources are available for downloading and printing and hard copies are available for ordering by emailing Health@nationalmailing.com.au

New Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Background Paper

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a new background paper Advance care planning in Australia (394kb pdf). All the papers are available for download on the Commission’s website.

White paper released on palliative care

The Australian College of Nursing has released a white paper providing an overview of contemporary palliative care service delivery titled Achieving Quality Palliative Care for All: The Essential Role of Nurses (437kb pdf). The paper summarises the evidence for the role of nurses in palliative care and identifies the areas for action to ensure access to quality palliative care for all people with a life-limiting illness.

Palliative Care Australia publishes guiding principles about voluntary assisted dying

Palliative Care Australia has released a guiding principles document Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia: Guiding principles for those providing care to people living with a life-limiting illness (81kb pdf). The guiding principles document is designed to sit alongside enacted voluntary assisted dying (VAD) legislation where it exists. and provides an organisational ethical frameworks and professional codes of conduct. The guideline defines seven principles of equal importance: The guideline defines seven principles of equal importance:

  • People living with a life-limiting illness are supported and respected whether or not they choose to explore or access voluntary assisted dying.
  • People exploring voluntary assisted dying will not be abandoned.
  • Respectful and professional behaviour towards colleagues and co-workers regardless of their views on voluntary assisted dying.
  • Effective communication is an important part of quality care.
  • Ongoing development of knowledge, skill and confidence is required to provide competent and safe care to people living with a life–limiting illness. Self-care practice is a shared responsibility between individuals, colleagues and organisations.
  • Continue to learn from evidence and evolving practice to drive quality improvement in voluntary assisted dying.

Health professionals practicing in Victoria can find more information on Voluntary Assisted Dying participation and services at Health.Vic

Perth public hearing on patient centred care

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing on patient centred care in Perth from Monday 24 June 2019 to Friday 28 June 2019. The Royal Commission will look at the issues concerning patient centred care delivery and good models of care delivery. As part of these hearings the Royal Commission will look at the role of advance care planning to support the provision of quality aged care services, the extent to which people accessing aged care services are able to access palliative care and the quality of palliative care services available to people accessing aged care services. Information on making submissions and the hearings is now available on the Royal Commission Website.


Page updated 25 August 2020