End of life care in aged care homes

This is very important information from the MyAged Care website and I felt it important to share.     When our loved one is placed in a nursing home, often long before Palliative Care stage, there are questions we don’t think about asking.  I know this is something that certainly did not go through my mind with my mother.   Be sure that the Nursing Home will be able to offer Palliative Care support to both your loved one and yourself.

My Aged Care

Staff in the aged care home can help in developing a care plan to best support the care needs of the person, and their family and carers. A good care plan may:

  • show how pain and other symptoms might be managed
  • show how emotional and spiritual support could be provided
  • show how cultural support could be provided
  • help family members make decisions about care options
  • help those involved know what to expect
  • show how support to families and carers through the bereavement process could be provided.

Staff will also be able to assist with nursing support or pain management. If you think extra support is needed, you can ask staff if you can purchase additional staff hours to help.

Will the person have to leave the aged care home?

A person nearing the end of their life may need to leave if the aged care home can’t provide the care and support that’s needed.

The Resident Agreement should outline whether or not the home will be able to provide care at the final stages of life. Depending on the terms negotiated in the agreement, the decision to go to hospital for treatment may lie with the person themself, in consultation with their doctor.

If a person does go to hospital, their place must be kept at the home while they’re away.

Palliative care

For people who have an advanced illness, with little or no prospect of cure, palliative care can be provided in an aged care home. The aim of palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life for the person, their family and carers. It focuses on ‘living’ well until death.

The Guidelines for a Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care provides support and guidance to aged care homes in providing palliative care.

Caring for someone at the end of their life

As a carer your presence and actions can provide emotional and physical support for the person who is nearing the end of their life. You know first-hand their wishes and needs and can help staff in the aged care home to make things as comfortable as possible during this stage. There are services for you as a carer that can provide additional assistance at this time. This could include information or counselling.

Support for carers

When you spend most of your time looking after other people it’s easy to forget to look after yourself too. It is very important to take time to look after yourself, to help you stay fit, healthy and relaxed. Here are some tips to help you take care of your own health and wellbeing. There are also counselling and other support services available to help you.

Next Steps:

Phone My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to talk to someone about what options may be available.

Read more about planning end of life care.

About yvonnec23

Business Owner of Special Care Clothing Solutions. I design and retail clothing for people with limited mobility or disability. Founder and Chairperson for SpecialCare Central Inc. which is an information portal Linking People with Disability, Aged Care Citizens and Carers and Families to Service Providers. Secretary at Older People Speak Out, an advocacy group for Seniors rights.
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