Older members of the community and people living with HIV who require palliative care could soon see major improvements to the services provided thanks to the implementation of a national set of standards.
Palliative Care Australia, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Ageing, last week released their National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP) -” a guideline designed to boost the level of care provided by palliative care institutions.
Specialist palliative care services deliver excellent care. However, today, we cannot in good faith promise that all patients at the end of their lives will always have access to care that is customised to their preferences and reliably delivers good pain and symptoms control, Palliative Care Australia president Professor Margaret O’Connor said.
The NSAP is a program designed for specialist care services. It provides tools for services to assess the care they provide, identify areas for improvement and develop and implement a targeted action plan for improvement.
Positive Life spokesman Rob Lake welcomed the announcement of a standardised approach, which could lead to improved care for people living with HIV around the country, but was aware that this was only the first step.
Most people now want their palliative care to be home-based but a national guideline is still a good step. To know that whether a person is in Lismore or in St Vincent’s they can still expect similar sorts of standards, he said.
Talking about communication and coordination between service providers
is important and it is particularly important to look at how people communicate to the person concerned and their family.
But with national guidelines like this, the test is going to be whether they are used. In five years time would we be able to go to 100 hospitals or palliative care service providers and see these points in place?
info: For more on Palliative Care Australia and the National Standards Assessment Program visit palliativecare.org.au.

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