GRPCC eNews No31 - March 2018
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Life and Death Matters 

The GRPCC eNews Life & Death Matters will be sent out monthly to provide you with current information about the work being carried out by the GRPCC and its members, as well as upcoming education and training. If you have been forwarded the GRPCC eNews from a colleague or friend and would like to receive your own copy, click the subscribe button below
Welcome to this enewsletter-
    • GRPCC A month in review
    • GRPCC website
    • Focus On - Occupational Therapy
  • Changes to medical decision making laws 
  • Education and events
    • Centre for Palliative Care - Masterclass
    • Gippsland Paediatric Palliative Care
    • Working with Disenfranchised Grief, Complicated Grief and Anticipatory Grief - Second workshop
    • Volunteers Conference
  • Resources and information 
    • PEPA
    • Dying2Learn
    • Guideline for Medical Administration Via BD Safety System
    • Neuropathic pain: diagnosis and treatment today
    • Upcoming changes to the medical decision making laws
  • In the news/ research
    • The Long Goodbye: Coping with sadness and grief before a loved one dies
    • Anything to save them: medics reveal the human cost of our denial
    • Communities to develop palliative care approaches
  • Newsletters / Communique
    • Palliative Care Victoria - Volunteering Newsflash
    • PalliAGED News
    • Residential Aged Care Communique

A month in review 

The month of February saw some exciting progress in the current GRPCC projects.  Carol's work with the Referral Pathway from RACF to Palliative Care Consultancy project is now complete in Latrobe, South Gippsland and Bass Coast and work has commenced work in East Gippsland, Central Gippsland and Baw Baw.  The project will be completed in June.

A main focus of the GRPCC in the upcoming months will be developing a skills matrix questionnaire for nurses delivering palliative care in the community.  This professional development framework will assist with pathways for nurses and identify educational needs to provide a coordinated relevant approach to palliative care education and across the region.  Work has commenced with gathering information from different services and specialties across the state that are using similar models and seeing how these can be utilized in Gippsland.  The inaugural meeting of the 'Gippsland Community of Practice-  Palliative Care' group looked at these in depth and spent time listing the technical skills required for the  nurse delivering palliative care in the community.

Launch of the new GRPCC website

We are very pleased to announce that the new look GRPCC website has been launched.  The new website now contains all the useful resources, links and information in a more user friendly and streamlined way.  The home page provides an upcoming event section and a useful local service finder. 
Click here to view the new and improved GRPCC website

Focus On - Occupational Therapy

Each month the GRPCC will be highlighting the role of Allied Health in palliative care and providing useful tools and education opportunities.  This month our focus is on Occupational Therapy.

According to CareSeach, Occupational therapy in palliative care aims to enable the individual’s participation in valued and essential everyday activities (occupations), while acknowledging progressive deterioration and pending death. The focus of interventions varies according to where a person enters the health system. However, what remains a core factor is the identification of a person’s occupational priorities and working with them and their carers to meet or adjust these priorities as needed. Continual readjustment of goals as deterioration occurs is imperative.

Optimising participation and function is achieved through the prescription of assistive equipment, task analysis, adaptation and energy conservation, symptom management eg, relaxation, positioning, home modifications, and education of patients and carers. Supportive counselling, particularly in relation to functional decline and occupational loss, is a core part of a palliative care occupational therapist's practice. Interventions must be person-centred and decision making of patients and carers can be informed by OT knowledge, along with that of the multidisciplinary team where present.

For further information on Occupational Therapy and it's role in palliative care visits the CareSearch website
Click here to visit the CareSearch website
Education opportunities

NATIONAL WORKSHOP: Anxiety Management in Palliative Care and Progressive Conditions
Date: 7th May 18
Location: Mebourne
Non-member Price:AU $ 900 (incl gst)
Member Price:$750.00 (incl gst)
Click here for further details and to register
Useful Articles and Guidelines

Advanced Scope of Practice Framework: Occupational Therapy In Palliative Care Framework
This framework has been developed by SA Health to guide the successful development, implementation and
evaluation of advanced practice roles within palliative care for Occupational Therapy (OT). This framework will ensure a consistent approach is taken and that appropriate governance arrangements are in place to support advanced level practice. It is aimed at employers, service providers, education providers and Occupational Therapists. 
Click here to download the Framework
 An Occupational Therapist’s Contribution to Spiritual Care within a Palliative Care Setting: a student OT’s perspective
Article by Susan Shu Shan Teo

Occupational therapy (OT) is a health profession concerned with promoting health and quality of life through occupation. With the core attention to spirituality and quality of life, the holistic and client-centred practice makes the OT a “natural fit” with the philosophy and approach of palliative care (PC). This paper aims to explore: (1) The role of an OT in PC and how the paradigm shift has steered the focus of the OT’s interventions towards provision of spiritual care, (2) The definition of spirituality and spiritual care from an OT’s perspective, (3) How the ‘core’ of OT intervention can implicitly yet unequivocally address the spiritual needs of palliative patients and lastly (4) the OT’s contribution to the multidisciplinary PC team. The discussion in this writing explicitly brought to light how spirituality and spiritual care is embedded in the everyday practice of an OT. Attempts have also been made to relate the use of ‘spiritual occupation’ as a grounding characteristic of OT's to contribute to and complement the working of a PC team (including social workers, nurses and chaplains), hence making OT a value-adding profession in a PC setting. [read more]
Changes to medical decision making laws 

The medical decision making laws changed on 12 March 2018 with the commencement of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016.

The new laws will allow for the creation of new legal documents called advance care directives. Advance care directives may include either or both:

  • an instructional directive with legally binding instructions about future treatment the person consents to or refuses
  • a values directive which documents the person’s values and preferences for future medical treatment.

If a medical treatment decision maker hasn’t been appointed, the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act specifies who has legal authority to make medical treatment decisions for a person who is unable to make these decisions. For example, this may be the person’s domestic partner.

OPA has an updated document 'Take Control' which has the information and forms needed to appoint a medical treatment decision maker, complete an advance care directive or make an enduring power of attorney.

Click here for further information and access to the OPA advice service
Click here to download Take Control
Education and Events

Masterclass for generalist registered or enrolled nurses working in the non-palliative care

Are you a registered or enrolled nurse who is wishing to learn more
about caring for a dying person?
The Centre for Palliative Care is offering a one day Masterclass
for generalist registered or enrolled nurses working in the non-palliative care setting who would like to know more about caring for dying patients.

The program objectives include;
  • To recognise the signs that suggest a person is likely to be imminently dying 
  • To anticipate the symptoms common in dying patients and understand how to respond with evidence based strategies to manage both the patient and the family’s needs
  • To describe the care of a person before and after they die 
  • To be familiar with the Victorian legislative changes as they relate to decision making
Date:      Wednesday 21st March, 2018
Time:     9.00 - 4.30
Venue:   Education & Simulation Centre, 3rd Floor Healy Wing – Building C,
St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, 41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy Victoria 3065
Cost:    $385 
Click here to register

Gippsland Paediatric Palliative Care

Due to the success of the Paediatric Palliative Care workshop held in 2017, we are pleased to announce that the GRPCC will once again be partnering with the Royal Children's Hospital to hold a similar  workshops in 2018.

Topics will include:
  • What is Paediatric Palliative Care?
  • Symptom management
  • Ethics
  • Communication
  • Psychosocial and Bereavement support
  • Plus relevant topics of interest as requested by attendees
Date:      Friday 27th April, 2018
Time:     9.30 - 3.30 (registrations open at 9am)
Venue:   Latrobe Regional Hospital, Auditorium
Cost:      Free
Click here to view flyer
Click here to register

Working with Disenfranchised Grief, Complicated Grief and Anticipatory Grief  - Second Session Announced

After such an amazing response with the initial workshop selling out in less than two weeks, we are excited to announce that the GRPCC will be hosting a second workshop.  Get  your tickets quick to avoid disappointment.

On completion of the workshop attendees will be able to: 
  • Identify Disenfranchised Grief, Anticipatory Grief and Complicated Grief
  • Support families impacted by one or more of these types of grief
  • Identify effective self-care strategies
Date:      Tuesday 22nd May, 2018
Time:     9.30 - 4.30 (registrations open at 9am)
Venue:   Latrobe Regional Hospital, Auditorium
Cost:      Free
Click here to view flyer
Click here to register

Palliative Care Victoria - Volunteers Conference

Volunteers – supporting people to live, die and grieve well – recognises that broad whole of health and community approaches are needed to support people with a life limiting illness and their families to live, die and grieve well.

The Conference will explore the role of volunteers in providing this support. Participants will share experiences from across the health and human services sector, learn from innovative work that is being done, and explore how volunteers might contribute to the provision of integrated services for this client group.

Date:      Wednesday 23rd May, 2018
Time:      9.30 - 4.00pm
Venue:   Rydges Melbourne
               Exhibition Street
               Melbourne   Vic   3000
Cost:      Free for volunteers outside metro melbouen
Click here to register


Want to improve your ability to care for people with a life-limiting illness?

Victorian PEPA aims to improve the accessibility of quality palliative care in the community by increasing the skills and confidence of health professionals who are caring for people with serious illness, and their families by offering supervised clinical placements that build workforce capacity and enhance links between specialist and generalist healthcare professionals in Victoria. 

Working side-by-side with professionals in specialist palliative care services gives you the ability to see the latest best practice care in action, ask questions and make ongoing connections and relationships with colleagues who you can refer to for assistance in years to come.

Click here to download an application form


Are death and dying changing in the 21st century?  Is how we think about death changing? 

  • Think about the language we use when we talk about dying
  • Learn about how and what people die from now
  • Find out how art, music, and media have shaped our ideas on death
  • Discover what happens in the digital world when we die

 The Dying2Learn MOOC will explore social and physical issues around death and dying, and look at how concepts and representations of death have changed over time. The course will be delivered over a five week period commencing May 2018.

Be challenged.  Join Dying2Learn, a Massive Open Online Course that is looking at death and dying in a different way.

Click here to visit the CareSearch website

Guideline for Medication Administration Via BD Safety System

The Eastern Metro Region Palliative Care Consortium has developed a detailed step by step Guideline for Medication Administration Via BD Safety System Safety System


Click here to download double sided guideline

Neuropathic pain: diagnosis and treatment today
Medicinewise News 5 February 2018

Key points

  • The updated, narrower definition of neuropathic pain emphasises its association with a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system.
  • Neuropathic and nociceptive pain have different treatments. A targeted history and a physical examination are important diagnostic prerequisites to medicine selection for effective pain management.
  • Low-dose amitriptyline remains a first-line contender in the treatment of neuropathic pain.
Click here to view full article
In the News / Research

The Long Goodbye: Coping With Sadness And Grief Before A Loved One Dies  
For years before her death at age 96, Nancy Lundebjerg’s mother underwent a long, slow decline.
Arthritis made it hard for Margaret Lundebjerg to get around. After two hip surgeries, she needed a walker when she was out and about.

Incontinence was a source of discomfort, as was the need to rely on aides to help her perform daily chores.
Little by little, Margaret became frail and isolated. “There was a sadness to seeing my mother’s circle of life become diminished,” said Nancy Lundebjerg, 58, CEO of the American Geriatrics Society, who wrote about her experiences in the organization’s journal.

The anguish accompanying aging isn’t openly discussed very often, nor is its companion: grief. Instead, these emotions are typically acknowledged only after a loved one’s death, when formal rituals recognizing a person’s passing —the wake, the funeral, the shiva — begin. [read more]
'Anything to save them': Medics reveal human cost of our denial
Article by Emma Young for WA Today

One day in an Australian hospital ward, two men were dying. Both lay in rooms off the same corridor. But their stories unfolded very differently.

The first was 95 years old. He had end-stage diabetes and heart disease. He had collapsed, suffering a heart attack while walking to the toilet. There was no advance care directive to indicate how he felt about treatments. His daughter had insisted on all possible treatment.

Doctors did CPR for 45 minutes, breaking his ribs and sternum – as was common for resuscitation, said Merran Cooper, the junior doctor who was on the wards that day. [read more]
Communities to develop palliative care approaches
Australia's Aging Agenda

Advocates for community-based approaches to palliative care say the launch of a new “practice forum” and digital resource hub will help improve end-of-life care.

The GroundSwell Project is launching the initiative that will see eight communities around the country engage in the so-called compassionate communities model of palliative care in their local area.
The initiative has been launched with the support of Bupa.

Compassionate communities are described as “a global movement to engage communities to think about how care is provided to people who are dying.”

The GroundSwell Project, an Australian movement to improve death literacy, said it will support the communities by offering on-the-ground community development expertise, a digital resource hub and access to a network of leading practitioners and researchers. [read more]
Newsletters / Communique

Palliative Care Victoria Volunteering Newsflash - February
PalliAGED News - February
Residential Aged Care Communiqué - Volume 13 Issue 1

Mailing Address:

Gippsland Region Palliative Care Consortium
c/- West Gippsland Healthcare Group
Landsborough Road
Warragul  Vic  3820
t:   03 5623 0684

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