VMCH Clinical Manager, Residential Services, Jeff Brooks represented VMCH at the Oceanic Palliative Care Conference in September.
The biennial conference is the pre-eminent event in the Oceanic region for anyone who is interested in quality palliative care at the end of life. General Manager – Mission, Bridget O’shannassy and Project Officer, Julie Smith also attended from VMCH.
Jeff was part of the poster presentation sessions, focusing on ‘building capacity through partnerships in Palliative Care – an aged care perspective’. This included a descriptive poster which depicts the journey VMCH is on in relation to palliative care and strengthening relationships with our external providers.
Jeff said the conference provided a snapshot of how palliative care services are provided in other countries, with a focus on the inequity in developing countries.
“Often people in these countries are denied access to medication and palliative care services,” said Jeff.
“Dr Christian Nitzimira highlighted his experience of palliative care in Rwanda, where access to palliative care medication is sparse. There are less than 10 boxes of morphine for the whole population, and bureaucracy and training for medical staff are barriers for implementing palliative care medication.”
The conference also focused on palliative care in the aged care setting, including a session facilitated by Calvary Health Care.
“This focused on the benefits of palliative care services working collaboratively with aged care providers to empower staff to provide improved symptom management of residents and minimise unnecessary transfers to hospitals.
“This is the model that VMCH is adopting, where we bring together key personnel such as palliative care providers, hospital in-reach, Primary Health network and where possible GPs and geriatricians”
As the only organisation that has all residences participating in the End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) project in Australia, Jeff said that we are a leader in the way we deliver palliative care services.
“While we are doing some great things, the conference provided different perspectives on the provision of palliative care, and we will be looking at how we can apply the work of other organisations to strengthen our own palliative care efforts.”