Mar 09, 2023

Palliative care upgraded to a core component of aged care training

Palliative care upgraded to a core component of aged care training

Aged care workers will now have greater access to palliative care training following the introduction of palliative care skills as core requirements of two higher education Vocational Education Training (VET) Certificates.

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Camilla Rowland, welcomed the addition of the core courses that will help strengthen Australia’s aged care workforce. 

“With over a third of all deaths in Australia each year occurring in residential aged care, it is essential that staff working in aged care are suitably trained in palliative care,” Ms Rowland said.

“Many of the people working in aged care have a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and Certificate IV in Ageing Support, but until now the delivery of palliative care was not a core part of the education provided.”

Ms Rowland said PCA has been working hard with its members to advocate for the inclusion of palliative care as a core component of Certificates for some time.

“These are essential skills for care staff as they walk with people and families through their health journey towards the end of life. 

“It is heartening to see that our recommendations have been actioned by Skills IQ and the Australian Government.”

The introduction of palliative care in these higher education courses will benefit a number of residential aged care and home care roles, including personal care workers, support workers and nurse’s aids.

Australians wanting to age independently at home will benefit from the training as all home care workers can now access high quality palliative care training as part of their regular coursework.

PCA also remains focused on embedding palliative care training for all aged care staff, including Registered Nurses, and they hope to see that included in the 24/7 RN rollout by July.

While it remains unclear if that’s to be the case, Ms Rowland said it’s essential if the Government wants to support the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

“Twelve of the commissioners’ recommendations point to the need for palliative care to become an embedded practice within aged care and palliative care training is central to making that happen,” Ms Rowland said.

“Research demonstrates that only one in 50 people in residential aged care have received palliative care, this change in training starts to address that failing in our system, and will add to people’s quality of life.

“A team approach is central to quality palliative care; aged care staff will now be able to make a bigger contribution to that team which is great recognition for the role they play.”

PCA will continue pushing for additional Government funding and support for the mounting “palliative care crisis” ahead of the May Labor Budget.

They have presented the Government with a May Budget Submission outlining key measures, including a $2.75 million palliative care workforce plan, $240 million per year to expand at-home and community access to palliative resources, and $20 million to train RNs.

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  1. Palliative basic awareness, understanding and care training should be in ALL entry level courses for those undertaking a career to working with the elderly in care.
    Specialised Palliative nursing is a highly underrated and undervalued specialty field. However, Palliative advanced learning, therefore would be advantageous to those with hearts and desire to undertake this skilled training. People die in ALL Residential Care Facilities 24/7, therefore those in positions of power on a daily basis NEED to have a High Level of understanding of Palliative Care and the Dying Process.
    (My personal experiences of having loved ones passing Palliatively in care, has NOT been as the Beautiful positive experience it should have been. Learning PALLIATIVE Care voluntarily training, I undertook some years prior to these 4 Family members deaths, highlighted the lack of awareness by those caring for my loved ones and us their family.)

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