Aged care staff upskilled in palliative care

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Group of a dozen women smiling at the camera, standing in a conference room where palliative care training is taking place.

More than 40 staff from the Intereach Aged Care team have been equipped with the knowledge and skills to support older people with life-limiting or terminal illnesses.

Community Support Workers, Care Coordinators, Program Managers, and volunteers from around Victoria and NSW gathered in Albury and Bendigo recently to take part in training facilitated by Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) Aged Care. 

The federally funded initiative aims to improve knowledge and confidence in home care staff when caring for an older person with palliative care needs, with staff delving into crucial topics such as recognising signs of deterioration in older people, effective symptom management, and understanding the profound impact of grief and loss.  

We discussed Advance Care Planning, and the symptoms that people might have when they have lifelimiting illnesses, so this training is vital as it really impacts on people’s quality of life,” PEPA Aged Care educator Charlotte Coulson said. 

 Intereach Aged Care Links Program Manager Sue Filipovich said part of its End-of-Life Directions in Aged Care project, which had been running for the past 18 months, was to upskill staff in palliative care and build links with local palliative care services. 

 “One of the most important things for our staff, who are the eyes and ears on the ground working with our clients, is to be able to identify when someone is deteriorating and then forward this information onto the clients’ Care Coordinator,” she said. 

 “Then; we can talk to the client and family to discuss any additional supports that might be required. This could mean we may need to reassess the client’s needs, so we can ensure we are providing the best possible service that we can.  

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“This training really sets our care giving staff apart from other providers. Having frontline staff trained to provide this type of specialised support gives our clients and their families additional peace of mind that Intereach is the right choice for their complete home care needs, from entry level care to complex care coordination.”

Sue Filipovich

 Ms Coulson said upon completion of the training, staff would undertake a workplace activity to identify any gaps when providing palliative care support.  

 “It’s a really special opportunity for me as a specialist palliative care nurse, to be able to work alongside aged care providers, learn from them, and for them to understand what services are out there. 

 “It’s been a pleasure working with Intereach and helping them help their clients and their clients’ families.” 

 To find out more about an aged care career with Intereach, go to our website: Careers – Intereach