Queensland announces specialist palliative care service

By Melissa Coade

Monday November 1, 2021

Yvette D’Ath
Queensland health minister Yvette D’Ath. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

A new program to improve access to specialist palliative and end-of-life care in Queensland has been launched by the state government.

On Friday, health minister Yvette D’Ath announced that commonwealth and state funding helped to establish a Specialist Palliative Care in Aged Care (SPACE) for 33 accredited residential aged care facilities in the Wide Bay catchment. 

The nurse-led, referral-based program is a partnership between the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS), residential aged care facilities and GPs. The health minister said it has been designed to support GPs and residential aged care staff to manage the complex needs of residents with complex end-of-life needs.

“Everyone deserves timely access to quality care so they can live their life as fully and as comfortably as possible as they approach end of life, and in an environment where they feel most comfortable,” D’Ath said.

“SPACE will help to ensure aged care residents at the end of life receive the right care at the right place at the right time.”

According to Labor MP for Hervey Bay, Adrian Tantari, nearly 2,300 residents live in local Wide Bay residential aged care facilities. He said that with an ageing population, it made sense for the government to invest in supporting better access to appropriate and needs-based end-of-life care arrangements. 

“This program is about giving our aged care workforce the specialised education and support to allow them to confidently deliver coordinated care,” Tantari said.

Bundaberg MP Tom Smith said that the SPACE program will improve the skills and understanding about end-of-life needs among aged care workforces, and in turn lead to case-based education for staff about symptom and medication management, advance care planning, end-of-life care, and communication.

“SPACE marks an important expansion of local palliative care services which is exactly what the region needs,” Smith said. 

The state government also hopes that the improved management of end-of-care needs will mean that, where it is in line with a person’s wishes and ‘clinically appropriate’ to do so, unnecessary transfers to hospital are avoided. By addressing this issue, the government believes it can free up hospital capacity for other acute health needs.

Federal funding for the initiative was delivered under the government’s Comprehensive Palliative Care in Aged Care measure.


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