‘Elder Abuse: A National Legal Response’ – Report from Australian Law Reform Commission

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Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The United Nations, in their resolution 66/127, established June 15th as a global day, which aims to raise awareness about elder abuse as a global issue, ‘everybody’s business’ and one that will become of increasing importance as our global population ages.

Elder abuse is defined as ‘a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person’ (WHO). It can include physical, psychological, emotional, financial or sexual abuse, and neglect.

While palliative and end-of-life care is not solely an issue for older people, it is timely to remember that many people accessing palliative care are also ageing, and often experiencing issues associated with elderhood, including societal attitudes towards older people. Many of these issues can influence people’s access to support, social engagement, health services and the enjoyment of personal freedoms and decision-making rights, making this an area of direct relevance for palliative care.

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Supporting communities to start conversations about end of life care

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Many of you who are regular Palliverse readers will be aware of our ongoing promotion regarding the need for the community as a whole to support open discussions about death, dying and end-of-life care. A group of researchers from the University of Alabama have recently published on a novel approach to this issue. In this study, they report on the effects of training lay community members as ‘health navigators’, who work with patients in hospital to help them understand the process of advance care planning, and to facilitate their further discussions with their family and healthcare team.

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Palliative Care WA 2016 Conference: Registrations Open

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Registrations for the Palliative Care WA State Conference are now open. The conference will be held on 29-30 November 2016 at Joondalup Resort. Online registration is available here. Look forward to seeing you there!

Unspoken… a theatrical perspective on advance care planning

End-of-life care and decision making is not something many people feel comfortable discussing, and yet is a conversation that all of us would benefit from having.

In order to generate awareness of and discussion around Advance Care Planning, Health Issues Centre is presenting a theatrically inspired event in Melbourne titled Unspoken (What Will Become of Me?).

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#PALLANZ October tweetchat: Euthanasia and palliative care

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I have seen few topics that can simultaneously enliven a dinner party conversation and create such moral divides as the debate about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Conversation increases in volume and speed. Wine glasses are clutched tightly to chests. Slippery slopes, autonomy, choice, sanctities and human rights to life and death are bandied across the room. Other party-goers are drawn in, almost against their will.

While this dinner party conversation may eventually give way to renovations or school holiday plans, the public debate continues.

Perhaps it takes hold so readily because we all share such a deep stake in the issue. Whether committed to autonomous, communitarian, religious, ideological or professional positions, we are all part of a broader community, sharing a common experience of human life and death.

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August #PALLANZ tweetchat – Funerals

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Robert Larkins, in his book Funeral Rights explains how “…in a little over 80 years, it has become the norm in Australia for a person to die in an institution and for strangers to collect the body and spirit it away to some mysterious and inaccessible mortuary.” He ascribes this transition to a combination of complex legislation, inadequate community awareness and in some cases, exploitation by those in the ‘death-care’ industry.

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#ANZSPM16 – understanding demoralisation in palliative care

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Demoralisation has been described as a form of psychological distress that is associated with hopelessness, helplessness, and a loss of meaning and purpose. It has been explored across a number of settings, but is thought to be particularly important in palliative care settings, where it may affect up to 20% of patients who face end-stage disease.

Such a pattern of distress goes to the core of our identity, and presents challenges to well-being and the often-cited idea of ‘living well until we die’. It also has important implications for decision-making and consent in relation to medical treatments.

Practitioners in palliative care understand the far-reaching impact of demoralisation, and Professor David Kissane, along with colleagues at Monash University have been advancing our understanding of this concept Continue reading

New web resource: End of Life law in Australia

A new website from the Australian Centre for Health Law Research aims to provide practical legal information for consumers, practitioners and the community, in relation to End of Life law in Australia.

End of Life law in Australia covers the key aspects of the law for each Australian jurisdiction, and includes laws relating to advance directives, guardianship, palliative care, withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, organ donation and euthanasia.

Please contact ACHLR Coordinator Penny Neller for further information and/or contributions.

 

#PALLANZ tweet chat: Palliative Care Yarning

PallANZ 201603 altPalliverse acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which we live, and we pay respect to Elders past and present. We also acknowledge the important contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Australian society.

The delivery of high-quality, culturally sensitive and respectful palliative care services to Indigenous communities is critically important. In the Australian context, a recent press release from NACCHO highlights some of the key issues, including the need to partner with Indigenous communities to develop and implement culturally appropriate services.

In the spirit of respectful, inclusive communication and ongoing learning, we invite you to join us for an online “Palliative Care Yarning” tweet-chat on 31st March 2016. This tweet-chat will be an opportunity to discuss some key issues in palliative care for Indigenous and First Nation peoples, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

When? Thursday, 31st March 2016

  • 4:00pm AWST Perth
  • 5:30pm ACST Darwin
  • 6:00pm AEST Brisbane
  • 6:30pm ACDT Adelaide
  • 7:00pm AEDT Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart
  • 9:00pm Wellington, Auckland, Christchruch

What? Topics for discussion:

  • T1 What does high quality Indigenous palliative care mean to you?
  • T2 How can we improve equity in palliative care delivery to Indigenous communities across remote, regional and urban settings?
  • T3 How can existing services collaborate with Indigenous communities in palliative care? (eg training, advocacy, service delivery)
  • T4 How will the services of the future deliver high quality Indigenous palliative care?

As always, we ask that you include the topic tag (e.g. T1) in your response to each topic, and include the #PALLANZ hashtag in your response. As the #PALLANZ community is international, we respectfully encourage use of the term ‘Indigenous people’ where referring to Indigenous and First Nations people and communities from across the world during the tweet-chat. The @Palliverse moderator for this tweet-chat (@csinclair28) will be responsive to any specific requests or feedback from participants regarding appropriate and respectful language.

You don’t have to be an expert, a Twitter whiz, or even live in Australia or New Zealand to join – in fact, we strongly encourage those new to Twitter and from beyond our shores to join us and share your views!

For those new to Twitter check out our tutorial here.

Looking forward to talking soon.

Human Rooms in Palliative Care: Creating multi-sensory healing spaces

A human room is a space where a vulnerable person or persons can reconnect with self. This process usually occurs after the participant engages with taking control of the environment by selecting sensory elements that appeal to them…”

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