End-of-Life Essentials Blog

Shaping Stronger Health Systems and Quality Palliative Care: Insights from the Oceanic Palliative Care Conference 2023

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End-of-Life Essentials

Annette Cudmore, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultant, Goulburn Valley Health, was a successful recipient of the End-of-Life Essentials Oceanic Palliative Care Conference sponsorship. Here Annette shares her conference experience.

Hume Region colleagues attending the Oceanic Palliative Care Conference

Conferences are a melting pot of inspiration, information, and opportunities for implementation. The Oceanic Palliative Care Conference 2023 was no exception offering a wealth of insights and discussions on improving palliative care within our healthcare systems.

  • Professor David Currow addressed the changing demographics of patients, often without caregivers, and asked whether palliative care should be viewed solely as a "dying service."
    ‘Is this person well enough to be referred to palliative care?’.

This question very much resounded with me, as so often in acute care we are referred people in the last few days of life. The challenge lies in facilitating early referrals, enabling palliative care to excel in helping individuals live well, while confronting an uncertain future shaped by a life-limiting illness.

  • Professor Brendan Murphy urged reflection on the effectiveness of medical interventions.

He challenged us to consider if these interventions really do prolong life in a meaningful way, or has this bought about the continued use of non-beneficial and often burdensome interventions that provide little quality of life for the person? Also considering the need to embed palliative care within acute care environments, emphasising that it's not a "last resort" but a therapeutic alternative.

Implementation opportunities:

  • Dr Sonia Fullerton introduced the concept of using short animated palliative care videos to educate the public. She stressed the importance of dispelling the misconception that palliative care is only about dying, emphasising that late or no referral leads to missed opportunities for improved quality of life.

AIM: To get this video on all hospital televisions and social media sites.

  • Strengthening the workforce was a key focus. Various speakers presented creative models of education and training to upskill the generalist workforce, ensuring access to quality palliative care for all.

AIM: Though our Hume Regional Clinical Advisory Group we need to explore sustainable processes for continuing to upskill our workforce.

AIM: There is so much education available and resources to utilise that it is easy to get lost in what goes where. To have an evidence-based framework for staff education and training in palliative and end-of-life will empower us to tailor evidence-based education and training across the many areas of palliative care. The 3 tiers include: Foundational, Advanced and Expert.

Pre-participation included completion of the End-of-Life Essentials education modules, review of relevant policies/guidelines and a pre-evaluation survey. They then attended a full day training workshop, quarterly meetings, and were expected to engage in continuous quality improvement activities.

They were also provided with ongoing mentorship and learning opportunities.

AIM: This will be a focus for 2024 within our acute care facility. This will include a series of End-of-Life Essentials workshops over the next 12 months across the regions.

The Oceanic Palliative Care Conference 2023 provided a platform for healthcare professionals to gain inspiration, knowledge, and strategies for implementing positive changes in palliative care.

From co-design and early referral to diverse populations and compassionate communities, the conference highlighted the multifaceted nature of palliative care and the need for continuous improvement in healthcare systems to ensure quality end-of-life care for all.



Annette Cudmore, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultant, Goulburn Valley Health

‘Just like in dying and death, what you see depends on how you look at it’

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